The Marvel wheel rolls on. As Marvel Cinematic Universe fans prepare for three new movies to arrive in theaters in 2017 -- from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok -- the studio is working behind the scenes on the next stage of movies. The Avengers are in production. And as of today, Ryan Coogler's Black Panther solo movie has kicked off its shoot, announcing production start with a press release that confirmed that Andy Serkis -- aka Klaw -- will be back for the 2018 film!
Much like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Klaw was introduced in a previous Marvel movie -- only, for the villain, it was in a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Andy Serkis' Ulysses Klaw was positioned as an arms dealer who Tony Stark was aware of, and he was approached by Ultron (James Spader) so that the rogue cyber villain could acquire Vibranium, which originates in Wakanda. It was a clever Black Panther Easter egg at the time, one that was further developed in Captain America: Civil War when Black Panther surfaced and elevated his status to global crime fighter.
This is exciting, for various reasons. If there's one real detriment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's the fact that it hasn't necessarily developed its villains as well as it should. Taking a page from the James Bond universe, each new movie tends to introduce new villains that have direct connections to the heroes, be it Kaecillius and Strange, Zemo and Captain America, Vulture and Spider-Man, and Yellowjacket for Ant-Man. There have been one or two instances where a villain gets an arc that extends over multiple movies -- but really, only Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has had an impact on the MCU, primarily because Joss Whedon used him for The Avengers.
Also, in Age of Ultron, Klaw lost his hand:
Which means he's one step closer, on screen, to attaching the sonic cannon on his hand!
One challenge that comes with adding Andy Serkis to the Black Panther ensemble is that there are so many incredible actors in the cast, they're all going to need screen time. The Marvel Studios press release listed, in addition to Boseman, the presence of Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Serkis. The plot of the movie, meanwhile, is being described as such:
Black Panther follows T'Challa who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T'Challa's mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.
Balancing all that will fall to Creed and Fruitvale Station helmer Ryan Coogler. We'll see how he does when Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16, 2018.