Black Panther might be Marvel’s most important movie to date. With a nearly all black cast toplined by Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o and a black director in Ryan Coogler, it’s set to inject some much needed diversity in a genre seriously lacking it.
So when it came time to debut the film’s first poster, Ryan Coogler used the moment to (maybe) make a powerful statement about the character’s historical significance. Though the inception of Marvel’s most prominent black hero predates the founding of the eponymous revolutionary political party, the two have been irrevocably linked since 1966, when they leapt to the forefront of black culture and identity in America.
As The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II pointed out on twitter, the one sheet—which features Boseman as T’Challa (aka Black Panther) sitting on his throne in full costume looking totally badass—bares a striking resemblance to an old photo of a heavily armed black panther sitting on a similar throne.
Obviously a callback to this photo of the Black Panther pic.twitter.com/ebZFt7YA7P— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) June 9, 2017
While it’s possible that the similarities between the two photos is a mere coincidence, Vulture’s resident comic expert Abraham Riesman doubts it because according to him, ”Coogler knows what time it is.”
Sure, it’s POSSIBLE it’s unintentional, but I mean, Coogler knows what time it is, so I’d be surprised— Abraham Riesman (@abrahamjoseph) June 9, 2017
Haha no way it’s unintentional— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) June 9, 2017
Intentional or not, it’s a striking image that sets the table for the film’s first trailer, which will air this Friday during game four of the NBA finals. Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018. Check out the poster below.