Long ago a giant meteorite struck deep in the heart of Africa, which a local tribe soon discovered to be composed of a precious metal with vibration absorbing qualities. This site came to be known as The Great Mound and the metal became what is now known as Vibranium.
Using this to their advantage they began to mine it for various uses and built their society around it. This land became what we know now as Wakanda; a highly advanced isolationist nation whose advancement in medicine, weaponry and transportation is second to none.
For all their technological progression the Wakandans still pride themselves on their ancient rules and customs such as their worship of Bast The Panther Goddess who empowers their leader and protects their land.
Another source of pride for Wakandans is their warriors spirit and the fact that Wakanda has never been successfully invaded in all its history holding back the likes of The Roman Empire & The Knights Templar. Even during WWII when Captain America tried to infiltrate Wakanda he was soundly defeated by T’Challa’s grandfather Azzuri The Wise.
This is one of the first purely fictional countries that will be brought to superhero cinema and Wakanda’s landscape is beautifully varied most likely from the radiation emanating from that much Vibranium. I think Marvel should use this to their advantage having all these amazing areas such as…
- The snow topped Domain of The White Gorrilas where M’Baku and The Gorilla Cult eat their flesh to gain their power.
- The Techno-Organic Jungle where technology and wildlife meet and where T’Challa battled the Fantastic Four for he first time.
- Warrior Falls; a huge set of waterfalls where he battled his arch-enemy Erik Killmonger for the first time. Even though T’Challa has seen other worlds, dimensions the Falls still manage to take his breath away.
- Necropolis City of The Dead where all previous Black Panthers are laid to rest and where the very first Black Panther Bashenga was crowned.
- Serpent Valley which due to deviant experimentation is still home to prehistoric dinosaurs. (Ok maybe not this one but it’s worth a shot.)
Wakanda is one my favourite locales in all of fiction and I have no doubt in my mind that Marvel will do it’s people, culture and history justice.
Possibly the most sought after mineral in the MCU, most famously used in the creation of Captain America’s shield., vibranium was once exclusive to Wakanda but T’Chaka over the years has sold small amounts to the outside world in order to modernise Wakanda.
Though Vibranium is not as strong as Adamantium (which Marvel Studios can’t so much as mention because of rights issues) it is still very dense and is best used in a defense, because of its way of soaking up energy and vibrations like a sponge. The more energy Vibranium absorbs the more difficult it is to destroy but once destroyed all of its energy is released very dangerously. Its uses and versatility are vast but Wakandans, having the most experience with the mineral, have found the most uses for it including the creation of flying vehicles like BP’s Panther-Cycle.
But Vibranium’s most interesting uses are probably in The Panther’s Habit including Antartic Vibranium Claws (Also know as Anti-Metal a form of Vibranium found in The Savage Land with the ability to destroy metal at a molecular level), the microweave mesh that robs any weapon of its kinetic energy including bullets which harmlessly fall to the ground and his energy dampening boots that can allow him incredible stealth and allow him to fall from greats heights with no damage.
Dr. Doom once discovered that Vibranium is also a great conductor of mystical energies and soon wanted The Great Mound for himself. In order to save it from Doom T’Challa rendered all the Vibranium in The Mound inert putting Wakanda in a vulnerable position financially and globally.
The Heart-Shaped Herb
Plant life mutated by The Great Mound has the ability to grant powers of The Black Panther enhanced strength, speed and heightened senses to whoever ingests it. However, those not of the royal bloodline may react badly to the mutagenic changes in their body and it may even cause them to die as the royal bloodline have built up an immunity to it over time.
In order to become worthy to wear the mantle of The Black Panther ,the royalty in question must complete a trial by combat in a gruelling gauntlet with 6 of Wakanda’s best warriors back to back. Only then are they allowed to partake the herb and commune with Bast The Panther Goddess.
Erik Killmonger once developed a synthetic version which anyone could ingest safely and gain similar powers. I’m not sure how they will address T’Challa’s abilities in the film but Marvel will most likely come up with slightly less-comic booky version of the herb while still making a nod to its comic book roots (pun very much intended.)
The Ancient Egyptian Goddess is still worshipped by Wakandans, granting The Black Panther many of his abilities. T’Challa has often sought advice while communing with Bast, mostly seen judging others of their worthiness who want to gain something from Wakanda including Shuri, Storm and Dr. Doom.
Known to be fiercely loyal to The Black Panther and Wakanda’s way of life even defending The King from The Devil himself Mephisto, devouring The Shadow King when he tried to possess Storm’s body and Allowing T’Challa to see through Skrull disguises during Secret Invaision by seeing into their very souls.
After this T’Challa placed Skrull heads on sticks outside Wakanda as a warning.
Bast sacrificed her life in battle with The Chaos King defending not only Wakanda but the entire universe during The Chaos War.
I don’t expect a full appearance by Bast necessarily but a few more references and mentions would be great.
Vibranium mutations also effect humans as well including N’Kano who’s vibrational powers got him recruited into The Fantastic Force (It was the 90’s they liked the word Force in their team names). There is also Gentle; a mutant in the comics (but could be easily made to be a mutate instead) whose powers grant him extreme strength and durability but also cause great pain. He is covered in Vibranium tattoos in order to prevent him over exerting himself. Many of Erik Killmonger’s followers also gained abilities through radiation of unrefined Vibranium.
This would be another great way to introduce more super powered characters into the MCU without running into thorny mutants rights based issues with Fox.
Let’s face it, until the Inhumans movie comes out we are slowly of running out of explanations for ‘enhanced’ characters.
T’Challa’s more fierce and animalistic sibling (if you can believe that), who took over as Black Panther when he was put into a coma by Dr. Doom.
She even fought him in the first gauntlet that ended with T’Challa being crowned The Black Panther.
Unlike her cool, calm calculating brother her ferocity has served her well at a time where threats were coming from all sides. She shows no mercy to enemies of Wakanda, often killing them without hesitation.
However, her first kill left her in distress and T’Challa trained her to help her overcome these issues and turned her into the pride of Wakanda.
She’s also held her own against Namor and defeated one of her brother’s greatest enemies Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis).
Introducing a strong, female superhero of colour would definitely help towards expanding the much needed diversity of superheroes on film.
Everett K Ross
Martin Freeman’s character in Captain America: Civil War could be perceived as being fairly minor, however in BP comics he played an integral role as he was the US/Wakandan Liaison.
This largely entailed having to stick to T’Challa (The Client as he called him) like glue, leading to some very strange and dangerous situations early on.
He even shared a sofa with Mephisto … it’s a long story.
Ross typically functions as the audience’s entry point and comic relief in the series making sense of this unique world of African tradition, super science and mysticism.
The U.S. government is often putting him at odds with his ‘friend’ T’Challa, adding to the geo-political intrigue. Martin Freeman recently said his role would grow within the MCU and he certainly has the dramatic and comedic chops to do it and I think it will mostly be through this film.
In Reginald Hudlin’s run on the character T’Challa strikes up a friendship with Luke Cage and they subsequently meet and team up with all of the most popular of Marvel’s black superheroes including Doctor Voodoo, Blade and Spectrum fighting vampires in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
That would be cool, but I wouldn’t expect a plot that busy in any future Black Panther films.
I would’ve loved to have seen Storm (who became T’Challa’s Queen) referenced in some way in the film but unfortunately due to rights issues we won’t see that. However, it’s not to hard to see Spectrum (with whom T’Challa has flirted with on more than one occasion take that place).
Both have incredible powers including flight, they also have similar costumes… and Monica Rambeau wouldn’t put up with T’Challa’s crap and mind games.
Roughly translated as The Adored Ones these women are chosen out of all of the best female warriors in all the tribes of Wakanda to serve as The King’s personal bodyguards. They are utterly devoted to T’Challa in every way and were traditionally conceived to be potential future wives for the King although he has never really shown any interest.
One of my favourite parts The Black Panther lore, they are often found kicking more ass than the King does.
The Dora Milaje are formidable warriors not to be trifled with as we almost saw Black Widow tangle with one of them in Captain America: Civil War.
Often not saying a word they let their actions do the talking, holding their own against some of the toughest in the MU including Black Widow and their once Queen Storm.
Hatut Zeraze/White Wolf
Wakanda’s secret police (translated as The Dogs of War) are run by T’Challa’s adopted older brother Hunter, The White Wolf. After his parents plane came down in Wakanda, T’Chaka took him in; much to the chagrin of many Wakandans who are very wary of outsiders in their isolationist nation (so much so that some Wakandans even split off and formed a xenophobic ultra-conservative tribe known as The Desturi).
Growing up, Hunter became extremely jealous of how T’Challa was loved and revered by T’Chaka and the rest of Wakanda. Through all this he is still fiercely loyal to the memory of T’Chaka and the protection of Wakanda but T’Challa finds many of his policing methods abhorrent (he’s not above torture) and disbanded The Hatut Zeraze only for it to be recently reformed by his sister Shuri as her methods could be viewed in a similar light.
Hunter slowly lost his soul even reviving Klaw, T’Chaka’s killer in order to get his revenge on The Black Panther.
Another great addition to the cast would be Onome, a Wakandan child prodigy who went off to join The Future Foundation a youthful think tank ran by The Fantastic Four.
With an incredibly intuitive mind she is one the greatest engineers in Wakanda before she is even into her teens, all the while still having that Wakandan fire and warrior’s spirit. As much as I like the serious tone creeping increasingly into the Marvel films they still also have to have that element of fun, something for kids and someone they can look up to and identify with.
One of my favourite parts of Iron Man 3 was Stark’s interaction with The Kid and it’s something that could easily be done again in this film with Onome, you could even make her a direct relative of T’Challa.
Obviously I would love to see Andy Serkis back as Ulysses Klaw ,however, the only natural progression for that character is to become a being of solidified sound… which might just be a little too comic book-y for the general audience.
In Reginald Hudlin’s run Klaw was reimagined as an assassin with a versatile robot arm which would be a great visual which has already been queued up by Age of Ultron. However, I’m going to put forward two lesser known villains that might suit the film better Achebe & Erik Killmonger.
In Achebe Christopher Priest wanted to create Black Panther’s very own Joker (specifically the Joker found in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke). An ostensibly nice guy who was completely unmade after one bad day. Having shown kindness to rebels they took advantage of him destroyed his home, raped his wife and stabbed him. Driven mad by the event he sold his soul to The Devil on that day, literally.
An unpredictable master of chaos, with the means and intelligence to do anything. If Achebe is BP’s Joker, then Erik Killmonger is Bane.
Killmonger’s family once worked for Klaw, unfortunately this saw them exiled by T’Chaka. When Erik grew into a man he made his return to mete out his vengeance on T’Challa.
Killmonger is a formidable threat for The Black Panther in strength, skill and above all else intellect also he is the one enemy T’Challa has never been able defeat even once…
Hope you enjoyed that brief wander through Wakanda till next time true believers!!