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After five decades of slashing bad guys in the comics, TV and video games, Black Panther made his cinematic debut in Captain America: Civil War last year, and he was heralded as one of the movie's many positive elements. Now we're only a few months away from watching T'Challa fight evildoers in his own movie, but unlike most superheroes, the protagonist is also responsible for leading an entire country. It's his duty to Wakanda that will make Black Panther feel different from other superhero movies. Here's how director Ryan Coogler laid it out:
In our film, you find him at a time where he lost his father, the most important person in his life. He's inheriting this incredible responsibility. He's inheriting it at a time when Wakanda is struggling what its identity might be and the people have different ideas of what they should do. He's incredibly conflicted but is aware of his responsibility of what to do.
T'Challa's father, T'Chaka, died during Helmut Zemo's attack on the signing of the Sokovia Accords during Captain America: Civil War. T'Challa spent the rest of that movie chasing after Bucky Barnes, who he believed was his father's killer, but he fortunately discovered that Zero was the true culprit by the end of the story. With the murderer now in custody, Black Panther will see T'Challa returning to Wakanda and embracing his new responsibilities as king of the technologically-advanced African nation. As Ryan Coogler pointed out, this comes at a time when others have their own ideas on how Wakanda should move forward. So on top of keeping his people safe as the Black Panther, T'Challa must also work to keep them united and ensure that they're not led down a dark path.
Although T'Chaka has passed on, don't think that means we won't see him with T'Challa in Black Panther. There will be a few flashback scenes between the two, and Ryan Coogler noted to Deadline that one of these scenes deeply resonated with him. In his words:
Realizing that we were going to have this film where a father and son talk to each other in this native African language in a superhero movie --- it hit me for a moment. It was emotionally moving. That was a big one.
T'Challa will find himself self combating sinister forces hailing from both within and outside Wakanda's borders during Black Panther. His own countryman, Erik Killmonger, will join forces with arms dealer Ulysses Klaue, and while both of these men have different reasons for wanting to oust T'Challa from power, their combined resources and skills present arguably the great threat Wakanda has ever faced. It will be up to Black Panther and his allies to stop these antagonists from taking over Wakanda and igniting another world war.