‘Captain America: Civil War’ Article Sheds Light on Black Panther’s Role

By December 2, 2015

We’re all agreed that the trailer for Captain America: Civil War is freaking awesome, right? Ok good. Glad we’re all on the same page there. While the main draw of that film is obviously the conflict between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), another aspect of the trailer that grabbed a lot of fans’ attention was their first glimpse at Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). There’s a lot of excitement and mystery surrounding the live action debut of Wakanda’s favorite son, and fans everywhere are giddy to see T’Challa finally share screen time with his fellow Avengers.

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly sheds a little light on how Black Panther will fit into the conflict sparked by the Sokovia Accords (the live action version of the Superhero Registration Act). According to the article, he doesn’t exactly pick a side right off the bat:

“He’s definitely not the life of the party in this instance. I think this is something true of the comic book character and the movie. You never quite know where he stands. There’s always a bit of concealing and mystery. So I think mysterious is more his boat. Not to say there’s not charm and he can’t be a ladies’ man and all that. It’s more like if there is humor, it’s more like James Bond.”

T’Challa’s always been a bit of an outlier in the comics, particularly in recent years (if you haven’t read Jonathan Hickman’s run on New Avengers, you should really check it out). With regards to the Civil War conflict, Cap and Tony may be butting heads over the fate of their fellow heroes, but Black Panther’s main drive has traditionally always been the service of his homeland of Wakanda.

“There definitely is a sort of tradition that he’s torn between, in terms of how things were done in the past and how things need to happen now in this new world. I think there’s perhaps a bit of a maverick there, and then there’s also a need to live up to traditions and his father’s legacy. And not even his father’s legacy, but the entire nation of Wakanda. I think those are the things you will see…He’s someone who hasn’t necessarily made up his mind about either side and whose agenda isn’t exactly what Cap’s agenda or what Tony’s agenda is.  And I think that brings him into conflict weirdly with both characters at different times in the film. He is the prince of an African nation that has so far stayed very much sort of in the shadows. And eventually the film will draw him and his father out of the shadows.”

When it was first announced that Black Panther would be showing up in the film, there was concern that his role would add up to nothing more than a glorified cameo. According to Marvel’s Emperor Supreme Kevin Feige, that won’t be a problem:

“We kept talking about ‘Somebody like Black Panther …’ After the third or fourth time that came up in a development meeting, someone said, ‘Can’t we just do the Black Panther?’ And we all looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, I guess we could,’” Feige says. “We introduce him here, give him an arc, and make him a full character. We don’t just give him a cameo, to wave. He has his own conflict and his own people that he’s looking out for.”

I mean, I’d kinda want to see a version of Civil War where Black Panther literally only walks onscreen, waves, and leaves, but I suppose giving him an actual meaningful role is a good idea, too.

While Panther’s ultimate loyalties remain a mystery, he does seem to have one important fan in Captain America himself, Chris Evans:

“I love our scenes together because I do think they feel a sense of responsibility. I think they’re both very selfless people. They want the right thing, no one’s irrational, no one has an inflated ego.” (That’s got to be a dig at Iron Man, by the way.) “They’re family-first people,” Evans says. “I think outside of the suits we’d be friends, Steve and T’Challa.”

Outside of the suits, sure, but in the suits? There may be some Panther/Cap punching. After all, part of the trailer does show Cap chasing Panther through a parking structure. Steve Rogers may just be jealous that Panther’s suit is made of the same stuff as Cap’s shield:

“The vibranium is a metal that is dynamic. It can change how it’s used. It’s not a liquid, but it has the ability to change shape and change form and still have its strength. I think there a lot of things about that in the mythology that I think has a lot of potential in terms of the storytelling… It’s not just about being durable, it has the ability to absorb energy. It’s not just like you hit it and it doesn’t take it. It has the ability to absorb the attack of another person and repel or respond to that attack. That’s part of the power.”

So the good news is that Panther’s role in Civil War is much more than a glorified cameo. And if you love Panther in Civil War, you’ll be even more excited for his solo film come 2018. Keep up the great work, Marvel!

Captain America: Civil War is set to hit theatres on May 6th, 2016.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Joe Ruggirello
Joe is a writer, retired comedian, and giant nerd. He's particularly fond of comic books, pro wrestling, and Godzilla. Oh, and that Star Wars thing. You can yell at him on Twitter @JoeRu23.