Marvel Studios generated heaps of headlines this week with the announcement of its full “Phase Three” slate of films, which included confirmation of (and titles for) the third Captain America and Thor solo movies, the two-part Avengers: Infinity War, and a host of other announcements. The list of upcoming additions to the studio’s cinematic universe also includes the live-action debut of Black Panther, the popular African superhero (and Avenger) set to be played by 42 star Chadwick Boseman.
The casting of Boseman was announced during the big “Phase three” event hosted by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, and Boseman joined established franchise stars Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans on the stage at the El Capitan in Hollywood to make his impending debut as Black Panther official. His arrival was accompanied by the reveal of concept art from the Black Panther solo film (embedded below), hinting at the form the live-action version of the character will take when Boseman brings him to the screen.
In Marvel Comics continuity, Black Panther is the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, a technologically advanced, resource-rich country famous for being the only nation in the continent to have never been conquered by outside forces. A frequent teammate of the Avengers and an ally to Iron Man and Captain America at different points in time, Black Panther has always been loyal to his country first and foremost, and to the famous superhero team second.
According to Feige, Black Panther will “tap into the advanced African nation of Wakanda, the family drama, and all that comes with it. He’s a prince, but he may become a king. And it’s also about how this isolationist country of Wakanda needs to meet the world — maybe it goes well, maybe it doesn’t.”
Boseman is expected to make his on-screen debut as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, the third Captain America film, which hits theaters May 6, 2016.