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When it comes to connections to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, every Marvel Studios feature has a different approach. Some titles are certainly built to capitalize fully on everything that has been made before, but others are constructed to very much be their own thing and stand alone. The latter is generally the case for most of the "solo" projects made, including Ryan Coogler's upcoming Black Panther, but according to producer Nate Moore, certain past films of the MCU will have their own special significance and part to play in the proceedings. Said the filmmaker,
I think [Black Panther] is inherently linked because of the [Captain America:] Civil War connections and because of the [Avengers: Age of Ultron] connections with [Andy Serkis' Ulysses] Klaue. So there are strings that we are playing with. But again, much like Doctor Strange, we felt this had enough storytelling that it could stand alone beyond those things. We wanted to give Ryan [Coogler] the freedom to tell a story that wasn't relying on other things that were happening in the MCU. Now that doesn't mean what happens in the film won't have ripples in the MCU, but the film itself isn't relying on other plot points in the MCU.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Nate Moore for a roundtable interview with other journalists last year when I flew out to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the set of Black Panther while it was still in production. Moore was asked during the conversation about what fans should expect when it comes to the film's connections to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while it sounds like the threads will definitely exist, you probably don't need to marathon every single title in the franchise beforehand just to understand what's going on.
Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange is an interesting comparison to make to Black Panther, given that it was the last time that Marvel Studios introduced their audience to a whole new world within the larger world they have established. In the same way that blockbuster gave movie-goers a sense of what magic is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ryan Coogler's film will be taking us on a head-first dive into the mysterious nation of Wakanda, which should be a place unlike anything we've ever seen on the big screen before. Introducing that special environment and the characters who live there is going to be a heavy task for the feature, so it is logical for it to be one of Marvel's more standalone projects.
But what about setting things up for the future? Black Panther is notably the last Marvel Studios film to be released prior to the epic Avengers: Infinity War set to be released in May, and there has been speculation regarding how much set-up for the summer we can expect to see in the February film. It turns out that the answer is "not a lot," given what Nate Moore told us on set when asked if the new movie would have to "support anything that comes after:"
We try not to do that, especially with these stand-alone franchises, to make them set things up specifically. Sometimes it's a happy accident that they do. Again, Civil War is a good example of that. It was never the intention of that movie in the beginning to set up Black Panther. But it was a storyline that sort of dovetailed really nicely into it and allowed us to build this stand-alone movie. I think this is similar. It's not meant to set up anything else specifically, but, again, there are storylines in this movie that could potentially spin off to do other great things.
Black Panther's larger connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just one of many, many things that has us incredibly pumped for the release of the new film. You can feel free to start counting down the days until release -- the movie set to come out on February 16th -- but be sure to also stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, as we will have a ton more for you from our set visit here on the site!