Black Panther has had quite the year. He nearly stole the show from Marvel's cinematic heavyweights in CIVIL WAR and was the recipient of an excellent new comic series from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. But things only seem to be getting busier for the king of Wakanda. Production is ramping up on the BLACK PANTHER stand alone film and if the cast is any indication, it's going to be a doozy. And while the character and his fans are certainly experiencing their moment in the sun, Chadwick Boseman also sees the hardships that come with bringing T'Challa and his world to life. Boseman is no stranger to challenging roles. He has built a career playing real life black icons of the twentieth century including Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and an upcoming turn as Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. In an interview at Comic-Con International, Boseman dished about all manner of BLACK PANTHER related things, including how they are finding the right character notes to give to audiences in his first solo adventure, the challenges that face them after giving the character's origin in a larger narrative, and whether or not he would align with his character in the Cap v. Iron Man throwdown.
When asked about the elements of the character that were introduced in CIVIL WAR and the plan to extrapolate those traits in BLACK PANTHER, Boseman had this to say:
"When you get the role and go through the mythology, they're certain things you want to preserve. You don't want to give away certain things that you want to make sure happen, so you don't want to do to much of this, to much of that, you want to make sure you concentrate."Black Panther's appearance signaled a great new strategy for doling out origin story information to viewers. Rather than make it the focus of an entire two-hour narrative, they worked T'Challa taking up the mantle of king of Wakanda and Black Panther persona into the ongoing story involving the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. It worked like gangbusters, but also presented some new challenges regarding how to approach Black Panther's stand alone story. He addressed the balancing act that came with giving the character a non-traditional origin story in CIVIL WAR and how that will affect his singular story:
"I think that's why they made his arc so complete, so that it is contained. You have to, in doing that, make sure you leave room for a lot of things that you want to happen. I can't say what they are but that was thought out by me, thought out by the producers,the directors, I'm sure Stan Lee had something to say about it, Ryan Coogler had something to say about it. We argued, made up, and all that. That's definitely part of the process."
As the dust began to settle in CIVIL WAR, Captain America found himself disavowed as a member of The Avengers, and sought T'Challa's help to keep Bucky out of danger. Being an outsider to the whole conflict, Black Panther took a hard stance on where his loyalties lie in regards to The Sokovia Accords by helping Cap. Boseman revealed that he and his fictional counterpart would certainly line-up when it comes to team choice:
". . . there is a certain freedom that the heroes have to have. They can't be controlled by red tape, hierarchies, how much time it takes to do something, and what somebody else's political interests might be. You can't become the CIA of superheroes, which is essentially what it would become. You don't want it to become some secret society, crazy. There's more danger in the control. Even T'Challa would be like, 'Nobody's going to tell me when I can put my suit on.' I would definitely go in Captain America's side in the end."Everything about BLACK PANTHER has me excited. Boseman was phenomenal in CIVIL WAR and the sense of regality he brought to T'Challa was great. Ryan Coogler is one of the most talented directors working Hollywood today, and as soon as they announced him as the director of BLACK PANTHER it has become my most anticipated Marvel movie ever. Of course, Black Panther is now positioned to be a major player in future Avengers films as well. When asked if he was up to the challenge of facing down Thanos, Chadwick offered up a confident response:
Hail to the king, baby.
"Sure, yeah. Black Panther is ready to go toe-to- toe against anybody."
Marvel has also stacked the deck with supporting talent for this endeavor. BLACK PANTHER also stars Michael B. Jordan (CREED), Lupita Nyong'o (QUEEN OF KATWE), and Andy Serkis (STAR WARS EPISODE VII).
It's a bit of a wait for BLACK PANTHER, seeing that it opens in theaters February 16, 2018. In the meantime, you can get your Black Panther fix with CIVIL WAR, which is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital platforms.