On Friday night, Marvel released the first trailer for the widely anticipated Black Panther film. As expected, it features stunning cinematography, epic action scenes, and some great music. The action flick stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the Black Panther. There is also a seriously star-studded ensemble cast, including: Michael B. Jordan, Sterling K. Brown, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kuluuya, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett. The Black Panther is not the first iconic black role Boseman has taken on. He previously starred as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up. He first portrayed T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War.
In the trailer, the mysterious land of Wakanda is discussed. Klaw calls it El Dorado saying, “They looked for it in South America, but it was in Africa the whole time.” We then see stunning footage of this “third world country” with “cool outfits.” Cool outfits, indeed, as one reviewer puts it, “The costuming alone is about to change the game.” T’Challa is certainly a starring character in the film, but the fierce black women of Wakanda are also front and center. In a conversation with Entertainment Tonight, Sterling K. Brown talked about the film’s relevance to today’s political and cultural climate. “It addresses the climate today of Africans and African-Americans―across the country and across the world―in a way that people will really be excited about,” Brown said. It’s an action film, but it’s not just an action film, Brown asserts.
Amid the excitement around the trailer, Marvel quietly announced that their spin-off comic featuring the capoeira-fighting black women of the Dora Milaje seen in the trailer called World of Wakanda had been canceled. The series was co-written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and had artwork done by Alitha E. Martinez and Afua Richardson. Many are finding this cancellation to be a devastating blow since it’s “one of the few Marvel books that had Black women at the helm, both as writers and artists.” This cancellation is all the more devastating after Marvel canceled Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther & The Crew earlier this year. This comic told real-world stories, “like how police brutality devastates black communities” so it’s particularly disappointing. Only adding salt to the wound was Marvel’s David Gabriel blaming of “female characters” and “diversity” for Marvel’s recent sales slump.
Black Panther is slated to hit theaters on Feb. 16, 2018. It’s a long time to wait for what looks to be an epic film, but we’re likely to continue to get a few more glimpses at the movie through future trailers before then. And from what we’ve seen so far, the film is going to be worth the wait.