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Ryan Coogler's Black Panther will kick off the 2018 slate of superhero movies, and all eyes are on the character to continue wowing audiences after an excellent introduction in Captain America: Civil War. Hailing from the secretive nation of Wakanda, the nature of Black Panther's home has raised a question for some Marvel fans: Why doesn't he have a secret identity? As it turns out, Chadwick Boseman made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! while promoting the release of Marshall to explain that the mythology of the character eliminates the need for a second persona. Boseman said:
You know, there's still a certain like fear factor that the mask creates, and there's still sort of like a legend around the character that has been created. I guess you would have to either go to some comic books or see it in the movie, but there is an aspect of it that's like: Is this Black Panther thing real? So, you don't need the secret identity because there's still the mystery of the Panther's prowess.
The bad guys in Wakanda fear the sight of the Black Panther, but it does not necessarily have anything to do with the fact that they do not know where the it comes from -- which is often the case for a hero like Batman. Black Panther's enemies know who he is and where he comes from, but the tradition of the persona (Black Panther is a mantle handed down from king to king) creates an underlying sense of mythology and a sense of immortality. And, of course, this is likely only enhanced by the fact that the character's vibranium suit makes him pretty much bulletproof, and he's an absolute beast with his fists.
This idea presented by Chadwick Boseman during his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! has become a fairly common concept in the world of Marvel over the years -- the comics, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For example, on the streets of New York City, most criminals know that The Punisher's real name is Frank Castle. His fear factor does not stem from a mysterious origin or a sense of confusion around his mythology; it all stems back to the fact that the arrival of the white skull (just like Black Panther's mask) carries a scary connotation. Except for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel movies have almost entirely done away with the concept of secret identities, and Black Panther fits nicely into that mentality.
Check out the trailer for Black Panther below to get a better look at how Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman will develop and expand the character's mythology.
Chadwick Boseman will step into the spotlight as T'Challa when Ryan Coogler's Black Panther debuts in theaters next year on February 16, 2018. Until then, you can catch him in Marshall, which opens this weekend on October 13. As for the MCU's next silver screen outing, tickets are now available ahead of Thor: Ragnarok's November 3 release, so make sure to get yours now!