12:20pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Marvel's 'Black Panther' Will Set Up 'Avengers: Infinity War,' Says Kevin Feige
Its release remains more than two years away, but fans of Marvel's Cinematic Universe already have reason to get excited about the studio's Black Panther movie, which will apparently prove pivotal for the larger mythology of the Avengers.
"This one is important," Feige told Empire Magazine in its 2016 preview issue. "Not only do you get an unbelievable lead character, but you also get all of [fictional African nation] Wakanda which is a whole new setting and culture to explore."
While the plot of Black Panther remains under wraps, Feige said that the movie will be "a big geopolitical action adventure that focuses on the family and royal struggle of T'Challa in Wakanda, and what it means to be a king." T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, is the Black Panther's real name, with the "Black Panther" identity being a hereditary one passed from Wakandan ruler to Wakandan ruler.
More importantly for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans, however, is Feige's tease that "T'Challa's story is very important to us as it links to the next Avengers films, which is why we brought it forward."
Originally scheduled for November 2017, the movie has been rescheduled twice: initially to July 6, 2018, and then to Feb. 16, 2018. Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 is scheduled to be released May 4, 2018.
How Black Panther will lead into Avengers is likely to remain a mystery until 2018, but it should be noted that a number of Infinity Stones remain undiscovered ahead of the announced "Infinity War." Could Black Panther's exploration of Wakanda include the discovery of one of the remaining stones? As all the best superhero stories would put it, to be continued ...