By Claire Downs
Since making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, this spring, Black Panther has become one of the hottest new superheroes to hit the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Portrayed for the first time on screen by newcomer Chadwick Boseman, the Panther will get his own film in 2018, directed by powerhouse writer/director, Ryan Coogler (known for Creed and Fruitvale Station).
Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it’s about time that Black Panther becomes part of the franchise. Yet other than the basics, (he’s the rich King of a fake African country called Wakanda and he’s going to be an Avenger), many fans are unaware of the Panther’s detailed and interesting past. Here are some things you might not know about Black Panther.
The Name ’Black Panther’ is Actually a Hereditary TitleMarvel Studios
Black Panther is actually not Black Panther’s name. His name is T’Challa, but as the leader of the fictional country, Wakanda, the title of Black Panther is passed down from generation to generation. The previous Black Panther was T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. T’Challa’s superpowers make him the most powerful Black Panther to date.
He Has Nothing to Do With The Black Panther MovementGetty Images
A lot of people assume that the moniker and invention of Black Panther were prompted by the Black Panther movement of the late 1960s, (or the other way around, that the Panthers got their name from him), but the character actually hit just before the Black Panther Party was founded in 1966.
In fact, Stan Lee changed Black Panther’s name to “Black Leopard” for a short period in 1972, to avoid any possible controversial association with the movement. “Black Leopard” really doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
His Ex-Wife Is StormTwentieth Century FOX
Storm and the Black Panther have always had a spark. Back in Wakanda, their paths crossed when they were teenagers. In 2006, they finally got married – Captain America and Iron Man both attended the wedding. If you’re a comic book fan, you can see where this is going. Storm’s from the X-Men and T’Challa’s from the Avengers, a match made in Hell. Cut to: a couple years later when the X-Men destroyed parts of Wakanda, leaving Panther understandably upset with Storm. As a reaction to the violence, Wakanda’s high priestess declared their marriage annulled. Guess they just couldn’t find a way to Netflix and chill.
He Has a Gang of PowersMarvel Entertainment
According to the Marvel Universe, Black Panther is a skilled hunter, tracker, strategist, politician, inventor, and scientist. That last one though, T’Challa worked for: he has a Ph.D. in Physics from Oxford University. Getting good grades was probably easy though – he’s considered one of the eight smartest people on the planet, and he has all the knowledge of every past Black Panther.
In terms of physical skills, Panther is not only a gymnast and acrobat, he’s also a master at African Martial Arts, contemporary martial arts, and exhibits fighting skills that can be attributed to “no known disciplines”. And that’s not all – he can also communicate with the dead, resist most forms of magic, and can memorize the scents of his enemies.
He Once Fought the KKK And Won
In a 1976 issue of Black Panther, T’Challa’s girlfriend is attacked by two members of the Klan. What does Panther do? He shows up at the Klan rally later that day and shuts the whole thing down.
He Has Been Re-imagined by Ta-Nehisi Coates
— Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) April 8, 2016
Since hitting bookstore shelves on April 6th, Black Panther No. 1 is the best-selling comic of 2016 so far, selling about 300K copies in its first month. The book’s success might be attributed to its author, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates is best known for his book Between the World and Me, (winner of the National Book Award, 2015) and his journalism in The Atlantic which discusses many issues relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement.
His First Comic Book Is Worth More than VibraniumGetty Images
Maybe not more than Vibranium, but the comic book with Black Panther’s first appearance, Fantastic Four #52, is worth a lot of money. If it’s in mint condition, it can be up to $9000, but if it’s sealed and graded, it can rake in up to $18K! And, these prices will only go up as Panther’s popularity and visibility in the franchise rises. So if you’ve got Fantastic Four #52 laying around your dad’s basement, DON’T OPEN IT! Sell it and buy that used Honda you’ve always wanted.
Wesley Snipes Tried to Make a Black Panther Movie in 1992Getty Images
Twenty-three years ago, Snipes was tied to play Black Panther in a movie that would be produced by Columbia pictures. According to rumor, he even wrote some scripts himself, and creator Stan Lee even signed off on the project.
A Fan Predicted Chadwick Boseman Would Play Black Panther
According to Chadwick Boseman, his fans can be “prophetic.” Speaking with Jimmy Kimmel, he described a film set security guard’s prediction that he would play T’Challa a full year before it was announced.
Black Panther Will Appear in At Least 5 MoviesGetty Images
To the joy of his many fans, it was reported that Chadwick Boseman signed a five-film deal when he agreed to be in Captain America: Civil War. After Civil War, we know that his solo film will debut in July of 2018. That leave three whole films to immerse fans in tons of Wakandan awesomeness!And if you haven’t seen Civil War, check out these kickass movies from Black Panther!