'Black Panther': A Closer Look at the First Poster

The glimpse of Ryan Coogler's superhero epic is notable for a few reasons.
Marvel Studios

If there's one thing that the teaser image for Marvel's Black Panther wants the audience to know, it's that it's good to be king.

While the single character in his downtime pose might follow a trend of teasers for recent Marvel solo movies (Let's call Doctor Strange exhibit A and Spider-Man: Homecoming exhibit B), Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa breaks with tradition by gazing out at the audience, looking quite kingly — not to mention confident that most people thought he was one of the best parts of last year's Captain America: Civil War.

Yet that's not the only reason the poster is notable. For one thing, it also continues Marvel's streak of a Photoshop job getting called out, as fans have been discussing on social media

As others have pointed out, the poster is also reminiscent of the iconic image of real-life Black Panther Huey P. Newton used as a promotional image for the figure in the 1960s and '70s, shot by Blair Stapp, showing Newton in a wicker chair, holding a spear in one hand and a rifle in the other. The Marvel poster isn't a direct homage — Boseman's hands are empty, for one thing — but the shape of the chair echoes the movement of the eye across the Newton image. Whether or not it's intentional or simply coincidence, however, remains unclear at this point.

Beyond the name similarity — and Marvel's Black Panther predates the Black Panther Party by a matter of months — T'Challa and Newton are hardly similar, so it seems like an unlikely visual callback, unless there's something in the movie to suggest otherwise. More might be revealed when the teaser trailer for Black Panther drops later Friday night, and when the movie from director Ryan Coogler is released on Feb. 16, 2018.

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