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It looks like T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) will be fighting battles on multiple fronts when Black Panther hits theaters in 2018.
After the film’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con Saturday, Marvel.com (as spotted by Collider) posted red carpet interviews with some of the cast, including Lupita Nyong’o, who is playing Nakia — a classic comics character who has at times been romantically linked to Black Panther and at other times been the villain Malice.
Nyong’o said that the plot will see T’Challa seek help from his personal body guards, the Dora Milaje, led by Okoye (The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira).
“Black Panther’s leadership is being threatened by two foes that come together, and so Black Panther gets the help of the CIA and the Dora Milajei to try to defeat the enemy,” said Nyong’o, who went on to joke that she’d said too much. “Oh dear. Someone is going to fire me shortly. I have to shut up now.”
So who will the two villains be? At Comic-Con, Michael B. Jordan was revealed to be playing Erik Killmonger, an expert fighter and nemesis of Black Panther. In the comics, he has a connection to Ulysses Klaw (introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron and played by Andy Serkis).
Killmonger is a Wakandan who was born with the name N’Jadaka. N’Jadaka’s father was coerced into working for Klaw when he attacked the country — but when that plot was foiled, N’Jadaka’s whole family was exiled from the country by T’Challa. N’Jadaka ended up in Harlem, growing to hate T’Challa, going on to change his name to Klaw and eventually plotting to overthrow T’Challa.
Serkis has not been confirmed for Black Panther, but Killmonger and Klaw being the villains are a likely bet. An intriguing clue from Nyong’o is that the Wakandan king will seek out help from the CIA. A likely candidate to fill that role? Martin Freeman’s Captain America: Civil War character, Everett Ross, who in the comics has a long history with Black Panther. In the MCU, Ross works for a counter terrorism organization — not the CIA — but it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him pop up to lend support.
As for the Black Panther himself, Boseman teased that in the movie, Panther will face “some criticisms” and there may be “some changes in the suit.”
Black Panther is set for release on Feb. 16, 2018.
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Jon M. Chu