It is no accident that the first teaser for Marvel’s much-anticipated Black Panther opens with a scene of two white dudes talking about a mythical African nation they can’t seem to access. Marvel has already introduced the title character, played by Chadwick Boseman, in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel’s also already had success with black superheroes leading their properties thanks to Luke Cage. Like Wonder Woman before it, though, Black Panther feels like a statement film. It doesn’t exclude anyone from enjoying it but it does make one thing very clear: This is a long-overdue moment for black superheroes and the black men and women who identify with them. Now the first trailer is here to add an exclamation point to that statement.
Plot details are still vague and this teaser doesn’t make things much clearer. What we do know is that the title hero, T'Challa of Wakanda, is in distress. He’s the great warrior of his people but now he must also be their king after the death of his father during Civil War. Factions within his own nation aren’t apt to make that easy for him but that’s not the only challenge T'Challa faces. Wakanda is on a global stage now. The Black Panther is one of the ever-growing group of superheroes walking among us, granting the world a peek into his protected and cherished culture. Now he must fight to preserve his home and the big question is not if he’ll be able to do it but what the cost to his soul will be.
Those heavy themes aside, this trailer is just a powerhouse. Director Ryan Coogler (Creed) has already established the film’s presence as something unlike any other Marvel film (or any other superhero film, for that matter) with stunning visuals, fight scenes and designs that make Wakanda into a towering African paradise. The cast is absolutely packed with talent, including Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and the remarkable Angela Bassett. Then there’s that soundtrack. If watching Black Panther kick ass while Run the Jewels is playing doesn’t get you amped, you are just not doing life right.
Black Panther hits theaters February 16, 2018. Check out the trailer below.