A superhero's costume is what first draws us to a character, as it teases something about their powers and personality, making them larger than life. One of the coolest superhero costumes out there is the Black Panther suit. T'Challa's royal vibranium suit is regal, functional and effortlessly cool. After making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa received a brand new Black Panther suit for his first solo film. There are a lot of different designs considered before Marvel settles on a final look for a character, so inevitably, some never make it to screen. Take a look below to see how T'Challa's suit could have looked in Black Panther.
I can't say if that costume would have been more comfortable, but it certainly looks cool and very different from what we saw in Black Panther. The most obvious difference to me is the mask. This suit design is more catlike than the one we saw in theaters, with the mouth design really evoking the face of a real panther. The texture of the suit also looks slightly different, and the suit in the film had far more silver cues, like vibranium veins running throughout it. Marvel Studios concept artist and Head of Visual Development, Ryan Meinerding, who is always happy to share unused character designs, noted on his Twitter post that the bundles of rough thread in this design are used to represent Killmonger's scarification, and that was used in that character's final design. That is actually pretty cool and symbolic, T'Challa and Killmonger are both wearing Black Panther suits, but each reflects something about that character. For Killmonger, the scarification could represent both the lives he has taken, but also the suffering his people have endured that led him down his villainous path.
As always, when you see these unused designs, it is tough to say that something would have been better or worse than what we got in the final film. Black Panther is such a perfect storm of success that there is no cause to believe a different suit could have made the film any better. It is also impossible to judge art like this without seeing how it would look on film and in motion. Ultimately, the costume we saw in Black Panther ended up being one of the coolest and most fearsome outfits in the MCU. But what's fun about these movies (much like the comics) is that these characters continuously change and evolve to remain fresh, and that includes their looks.
It's hard to tell from the trailers if Black Panther gets a new suit for Avengers: Infinity War, but with a Black Panther 2 inevitable and likely fast-tracked given the money Marvel is currently being showered in, there is always an opportunity for the character to change costumes again in the future. Personally, I'd love to see Chadwick Boseman's character rocking the cape the character sometimes sports in the comics. There aren't nearly enough capes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Black Panther is one of the few characters badass enough to actually pull the look off.
Black Panther is in theaters now. After you've seen the film, be sure to come back and check out all of our coverage, breaking down the year's biggest film so far and looking ahead to what the future holds for T'Challa and the rest of Wakanda.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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