Black Panther is an iconic superhero from Marvel Comics. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Black Panther is T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, who takes over as Wakanda’s protector from his father. Boseman’s memorable performance as T’Challa is one of the many reasons why fans love this character so much. There was a certain elegance to how Boseman portrayed his characters, which wasn’t surprising because of how he approached each role he took. He didn’t want to play stereotypical characters, and Black Panther was new, engaging, and essential for the culture, and Boseman knew it.
Black Panther’s first appearance in the MCU was in Captain America: Civil War movie, introducing fans to T’Challa and the power of Vibranium. While T’Challa’s storyline in the comics is filled with epic battles, partnerships with powerful teams like The Fantastic Four and X-Men, and betrayal, his MCU storyline was only beginning. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever handled Boseman’s tragic death well, but this meant changing future plans for Boseman’s character. If the Marvel Comics were the blueprint, Black Panther’s future in the MCU would’ve been very different.
Black Panther’s Had a Riveting Story in the MCU
During The Infinity Saga, T’Challa was the main Black Panther in the MCU. His story starts in Captain America: Civil War, and while the movie tackles several plot points, his is an immediate standout. After his father’s death during the Sokovia Accords hearing, T’Challa forms a very brief partnership with Natasha Romanoff during his mission to get revenge for his father’s death. Even his fights with the Winter Soldier are still some of the best action scenes in the MCU. T’Challa also interacts with other members of the Avengers, some of whom he likes, while others he tolerates, most notably Clint Barton.
With his father gone, T’Challa becomes king of Wakanda, and MCU fans finally got to see his beautiful and futuristic nation in his first solo film, 2018’s Black Panther. The film features family, betrayal, and cultural themes that bring a fresh perspective to the superhero genre. Opening up his world helps audiences understand why he is so protective of the treasure he has back home. The 2018 movie wasn’t the last time fans saw this iconic protector. The battle between the Avengers and Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War takes place in T’Challa’s kingdom. Unfortunately, he is one of the billions of people Thanos blips from the universe. Black Panther was a poised, level-headed, and compassionate leader who carried himself with respect and strength. Boseman’s portrayal of the royal family member gave it the complexity it needed to make him forever memorable.
Mirroring Boseman’s own battle with cancer, Wakanda Forever reveals that T’Challa dies of a mysterious disease that his family and friends don’t know about until it is too late. This scene is one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the film because Boseman also kept his diagnosis a secret. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever leaves behind the film’s original script but gives Boseman a fitting sendoff for all the years he played the Black Panther. In the MCU, Black Panther was poised to help the Avengers fight Kang, his variants, and other villains like the Skrulls. The near-perfect character building of T’Challa’s character made him the best choice to succeed Iron Man as the Avengers leader. Despite his death, T’Challa’s legacy continues with his on-screen sister, Shuri, who takes on the mantle of the Black Panther.
Black Panther’s Storyline in the Marvel Comics
Black Panther has had many exciting and fulfilling storylines in the Marvel Comics since his first appearance in The Fantastic Four #52 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). In this comic, T’Challa meets The Fantastic Four and interacts with Doctor Doom, who has just stolen the Silver Surfer’s cosmic power. This storyline could have been the direction for the MCU to set up their upcoming Fantastic Four movie with the Black Panther’s character already established. In the comics, T’Challa would later join the Avengers and fight several villains like Baron Zemo, Grim Reaper, Ultron, and Vision.
T’Challa also had several relationships in the Marvel Comics. While Nakia is his love interest in the MCU, they barely dated in the comics before Nakia became obsessed and turned evil, ready to kill anyone who dared love him. T’Challa also meets up with the X-Men and is instrumental in helping Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, reunite with her family in Africa. From there, T’Challa and Storm fall in love and marry in a beautiful Wakandan ceremony, pausing the Civil War events until the ceremony ends. Wakanda also suffers the Skrull invasion, but T’Challa and his wife defeat the invaders and get close enough to kill their General.
Around this time, Shuri also becomes the Black Panther after Namor injures T’Challa, leaving him in a coma, thus pushing Shuri to prove she has what it takes to protect Wakanda. T’Challa in the comics even joins the Illuminati, proving there is no shortage of stories where the MCU could have taken this beloved character. In the comics, he is strong, powerful, and a capable leader of Wakanda. Had circumstances been different, fans would have seen some of these stories potentially play out in the Black Panther sequel. Sadly, fans can now only speculate how T’Challa would handle being a father and the coming threats to the Avengers like the Skrulls and Kang variants.
Black Panther’s Future Would Have Been Very Different in the MCU
According to director Ryan Coogler, the MCU always intended to bring on T’Challa’s son for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. T’Challa would return after The Blip to realize he has a son. The sequel would be a father-son story from T’Challa’s perspective. He would have to deal with co-parenting because Nakia had remarried while living in Haiti. Seeing these romantic and parental storylines play out for fans would be intriguing because they are unique to the MCU and not covered in the comics. The plot was meant to feature T’Challa and his son saving the world, setting up other MCU films.
While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had to make some changes after Boseman’s passing, it doesn’t mean some Black Panther storylines in the comics won’t make it to the MCU. The Skrulls have already appeared in Marvel’s Secret Invasion, so the writers could still bring in Shuri’s Black Panther to help fight any remaining Skrull radicals. As a protector, Shuri has proven herself to be a great hero and could help if Dr. Doom appears to face Marvel’s Fantastic Four. The possibilities are endless with the rich storylines from Marvel Comics. Although T’Challa is gone, Shuri’s Black Panther can still bring these storylines in the MCU’s future phases.
The MCU had big plans for T’Challa’s Black Panther before Chadwick Boseman’s passing. Now, recent changes have redefined the mantle from the comics. Read More