The rapid expansion of Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, with the much-anticipated solo feature Black Panther hitting theaters February 16, 2018. The latest update on the film offers up a new track from Black Panther: The Album that offers a sneak peek at the music that inspired — and was inspired by — the movie.
Directed by Creed filmmaker Ryan Coogler from a script penned by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson), Black Panther stars 42 actor Chadwick Boseman as the titular king and costumed protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The film has T’Challa (Boseman) returning home to Wakanda after the events of Captain America: Civil War to take his place on the powerful nation’s throne, only to encounter trouble from competing factions challenging his rule, as well as a dangerous enemy from his past.
Here’s everything we know about Black Panther so far.
Music to rule by
The adventures of the king of Wakanda demand a fitting soundtrack, and Marvel is clearly making the music of Black Panther a high priority.
Two weeks before Black Panther arrives in theaters, a new track from the film’s soundtrack has found its way online. Titled Pray For Me, the single features Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning artist The Weeknd and Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar.
In an announcement made in early January 2018, Disney and Marvel revealed that Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith will co-produce Black Panther: The Album. The album will feature music from the film and inspired by it, including the lead single from the movie, All the Stars, which features Lamar and label-mate SZA.
The album is Lamar’s first major collaboration with a movie project, and will make Black Panther the first Marvel Studios movie to have an album of original tracks created specifically for the film.
Black Panther: The Album hits shelves (and digital retailers) February 9, and is currently available for pre-order.
According to a tweet from Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis, Black Panther is on pace to overtake Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the top superhero movie in terms of advance ticket sales. That means Black Panther has sold more presale tickets than any Avengers movie ever and all of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. With two weeks left until release, it’s also number one in daily ticket sales.
— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) January 31, 2018
Assuming people keep buying tickets — and, considering the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, that seems likely — Black Panther will take the crown before its release.
Packing a punch
A clip from the film released just a few weeks before the premiere offered one of the best looks yet at the Dora Milaje — the all-female Wakandan special forces unit — leaping into action with fists, feet, and an assortment of high-tech and improvised weapons.
If the marketing for the film has made one thing abundantly clear, it’s that these ladies are not to be trifled with.
That first, kinetic clip
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in January, Boseman brought along the first full clip from Black Panther to show off. The brief scene from the film features Black Panther chasing down a truck on a busy highway — but it also includes a sneak peek at some of the high-tech elements at play in the film.
In the clip, we see T’Challa “charge up” his suit using the kinetic energy of the bullets being fired at him, then release that stored energy in a powerful blast that cripples the truck he’s pursuing. The car he’s riding on throughout most of the clip also appears to be driven remotely, suggesting that Wakanda’s driverless tech might be far ahead of anything we have seen in Marvel’s cinematic universe so far.
Power behind the throne
The Dora Milaje is expected to play a major role in the action in Black Panther, and the female warriors took center stage in a television spot for the film released in January 2018.
Titled “Entourage,” the preview offers a nice indication that T’Challa won’t be the only hero to have some memorable action scenes in the film.
The big picture
There will be more of Black Panther’s adventures to see on IMAX screens when the film hits theaters, according to the large-screen cinema company.
In an announcement made in early January 2017, IMAX confirmed that some scenes in the film were shot specifically for the large-screen format. Those scenes will appear in the expanded 1:9:1 IMAX aspect ratio, for an increase of 26 percent more image on the screen. The announcement was accompanied by a brief teaser video posted on Twitter that offers an example of how much more of the action you’ll see in the IMAX-specific scenes.
— IMAX (@IMAX) January 8, 2018
More to see
A Japanese trailer for the film found its way online in December 2017, and it showcases some of the cool tech employed by Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda, and the enemies both will face in the film. The trailer was posted on Twitter and features Japanese subtitles over an English-language preview of the film.
— 『アベンジャーズ』［公式］ (@AVG_JP) December 11, 2017
New and familiar faces
Boseman reprises his role from Civil War in Black Panther along with Florence Kasumba (Wonder Woman) as Ayo, a member of the Wakandan special forces unit known as the Dora Milaje, and Martin Freeman (Sherlock) as Everett K. Ross, the deputy task force commander of the Joint Counterterrorism Center. Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) also reprises his role from Avengers: Age of Ultron as the weapons dealer Ulysses Klaue.
New additions to Marvel’s cinematic universe making their debut in Black Panther include Michael B. Jordan (Creed) as Erik Killmonger (one of the film’s main villains), Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) as Dora Milaje member Nakia, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) as Dora Milaje leader Okoye, Angela Bassett (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) as T’Challa’s mother, Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) as N’Jobu, and Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Wakandan statesman Zuri.
The first, full-length trailer
After months of relatively few updates on the film, Black Panther finally got its first full-length trailer on October 16, 2017.
Not only does the preview offer more footage of Boseman in action as Black Panther, it also puts a spotlight on many of the female soldiers of the Dora Milaje, who are expected to play a key role in the film’s story and the advanced Wakandan society introduced in the movie. The trailer also features more footage of the film’s primary villains: Serkis’ Klaue and Jordan’s Killmonger, who appear to have very different reasons for wanting an end to T’Challa’s reign.
Possibly most interesting, however, is the reveal of a suit worn by Killmonger that appears to be similar to T’Challa’s own Black Panther uniform. Much like the first Iron Man movie and the more recent Ant-Man, Black Panther could be setting up a climactic battle between hero and villain in high-tech suits.
They’re all here
The second poster released by Marvel for Black Panther is also the first to feature the full cast. Boseman posted the first peek at the promotional image for the film on Twitter shortly after the full-length trailer’s debut.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) October 16, 2017
First teaser, first poster, first look
Marvel got an early start on promoting its 2018 releases by unveiling the first poster for Black Panther and a gritty teaser trailer in June 2017.
The teaser begins with Martin Freeman’s character Everett Ross sitting in front of a very untidy Andy Serkis as the smuggler Ulysses Klaue, who’s tied to a chair in a makeshift interrogation room. “Tell me something,” Klaue says. “What do you know about Wakanda?” He then begins to hint at the powerful country’s secrets, revealing that it is in actuality the mythical place that inspired the legend of El Dorado.
“I’m the only one who’s seen it,” he continues, “and made it out alive.”
The quick glimpses of the film reveal another welcome change of scenery for the Marvel franchise. Stepping into the role of Wakanda’s new king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) dons his royal garb to rule the powerful nation, as well as the uniform of the mysterious Black Panther, while the camera cuts to colorful jungle scenes, futuristic cityscapes, and a wild car chase.
The poster (below) reveals Boseman seated on his kingdom’s throne, giving the world a closer look at his Black Panther costume.
Three’s a crowd?
As if taking on Ulysses Klaue and Erik Killmonger wasn’t enough of a challenge for the film’s titular hero, it appears a third villain will be featured in Black Panther.
Cameras officially began rolling on Black Panther near the end of January 2017.
Filmed under the working title of Motherland, the movie was shot in Georgia’s Pinewood Atlanta Studios, with the Atlanta City Hall serving as the United Nations building in the movie. Additional filming took place in South Korea, primarily in the city of Busan.
Principle production on Black Panther ended on April 19, 2017.
Updated February 2, 2018: Added new single from Black Panther: The Album.