Everyone is anxiously awaiting for Black Panther to open in theaters later this month. The early reactions are already in and the new movie adaptation is all pegged for a killer entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, you might need to brush up on your lore in advance. Here are a few things that will help you get ready for the big premier.
Welcome to Wakanda
The fictional nation of Wakanda holds great significance in the comic books and lies somewhere in the northern part of Africa. The exact location has always been kept a secret because Wakanda has purposely cut itself off from the rest of the world. It solves its own problems, has no desire to be involved with outsiders, and trespassers are seriously dealt with.
The most important thing that you should know about Wakanda is that it is decades ahead of any other nation in terms of science and technology. It utilizes designs and methodologies that are simply incompatible with the outside world. To further emphasize that fact, the Wakandan computing technology cannot be hacked. However, it can definitely get into any system located in any part of the world.
In addition to a number of different tribes, there are various religious divides in the nation. These include the cults of the Panther, White Gorilla, Lion, and Crocodile. Their followers worship deities from the time of pharaohs in ancient Egypt and are not always that eager to extend a hand of friendship to rivals. The White Gorilla Cult, for example, has been outlawed because of their savage ways.
Wakanda is home to the Black Panther and it comes down to him to ensure that everyone remains united as best as possible for the great good.
Black Panther is a title for the Wakandan King
The Black Panther moniker is not the name of a superhero or an individual. It is actually an honorable title bestowed only on the king of Wakanda.
Since T’Challa is the current ruler by right of the royal bloodline, he gets to be called the Black Panther. His father T’Chaka was assassinated in the events of Captain America: Civil War by a brainwashed Bucky Barnes and hence, was the previous Black Panther.
The one to succeed T’Challa will likewise be the next to take on the job of ruling the nation as well as be its protector. However, it should also be pointed out that the title needs to be earned. It is not that easy to become the Black Panther for Wakanda. There is a lot of studying, training, and blessings from the Panther god.
The royal guards of T’Challa are all warrioresses
There are over a dozen different tribes in Wakanda and the greatest female warrior is chosen from each of them for the honor of becoming potential wives and protecting their king. They are called the Dora Milaje or the adored ones, and are highly skilled in combat.
They are always on the move to come to the aid of their king and Wakanda, and have successfully defended against overwhelming threats over the years regardless of whether they were outnumbered or not.
While they are the royal bodyguards of the sitting king, their real allegiance is to Wakanda. To emphasize that point, the Dora Milaje once went against T’Çhalla in the comic books because they thought he had betrayed his nation.
The Vibranium beneath Wakanda
Wakanda was hit by a meteor almost three generations ago, which was made up of a strange substance that became to be called Vibranium. It has the unique property of absorbing almost limitless kinetic energy, making it incredibly durable in the right state.
Wakanda has mined the ore for years, using it to develop their cities and power their weapons. The mines run deep beneath the nation and are heavily guarded. It was not until recently in the comic books that Wakanda began trading Vibranium with the outside world.
The suit worn by the Black Panther is woven entirely out of Vibranium and helps the superhero fend off blows–even bullets. The shield of Captain America is also made out of the same material, a fact that will become true in the upcoming movie adaptation.
Black Panther gets his superpowers from a plant
While the Vibranium-fitted suit helps the Black Panther in a number of ways, it does not grant him superhuman strength and agility. Those come from a heart-shaped leaf–herb–that grows only in Wakanda. The locals believe that the plant is a gift from the Panther god. However, the reality is that the specific plant mutated after coming in contact with Vibranium.
After the leaves are mixed in a specially prepared brew, the solution is applied to the body of the Black Panther. It is said that anyone not worthy or from the royal bloodline will not survive the process.
The historic significance behind his African heritage
There are a number of black superheroes in mainstream comic books these days. However, back then there were none. When Black Panther, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, made his debut in an issue of Fantastic Four back in July 1966, he became the first major black superhero in history.
The staunch reception for his guest appearance eventually led to a standalone series, and then more. The movement began with Marvel Comics but the ripple effect convinced DC Comics to diversify as well, introducing Green Lantern just five years after.
His love interest in the X-Men
T’Challa married Ororo Munroe, also known as the weather-controlling Storm from the X-Men, in the midsts of the “Civil War” storyline and brought both sides together for a peaceful celebration at the wedding reception. The two ruled over Wakanda for years and were actually dubbed as a power couple in the comic books.
However, fractures began appearing in the relationship after the Phoenix Force returned to Earth and destroyed Wakanda. Black Panther chose to end the marriage with Storm because of differences in allegiances, but the two remained good friends in the years to come.
“Lore Guard” is an exclusive segment that brings attention to the genuine history behind characters, storylines, events, artifacts, and such. They may differ in their adaptations for different mediums but it is important to know how they were initially penned.