The first trailer for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is now available for our viewing pleasure, giving us our first look at the film and a plethora of new and returning characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s so much in this first teaser to explore, appreciate and speculate wildly about that we couldn’t resist taking a closer look. Here’s our in-depth breakdown of the trailer.
“Tell me something; what do you know about Wakanda?” Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue is back, sans that arm he lost during Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he’s clearly been up to no good. He’s in the custody of Martin Freeman’s CIA agent Everett K. Ross, last seen in Captain America: Civil War, and Klaw seems to think that Ross is blind to the true nature of Wakanda.
“It’s a third world country. Textiles, shepherds, cool outfits,” says Ross, but we think he may know a little more than he’s letting on. “All a front,” replies Klaw. “Explorers have searched for it, called it El Dorado. They looked for it in South America, but it was in Africa the whole time. I’m the only one who’s seen it and made it out alive.”
And wow, is there ever more to Wakanda. The first shot of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa shows him disembarking from a high-tech aircraft to the sight of cliffs teeming with Wakandans in their striking native dress. We’re really loving the colourful costume design on show in this trailer. Greeting the Wakandan King is Forest Whitaker’s Zuri, who in the comics was a warrior and loyal friend of T’Challa’s late father, T’Chaka. It looks like he could be on mentor duty here.
As for those venturing into Wakanda and failing to make it out alive, that’s clearly the doing of the African nation’s legendary protector. We see a group of armed militia who don’t look like they’re there on holiday, and it’s fair to say that they don’t last long once they’ve encountered the Black Panther. The first shot of our hero in costume, hiding in the trees, may just be the coolest in the entire trailer. A few athletic kicks and bullets ricocheting off his vibranium suit later, and it looks like Wakanda’s secrets are safe for now.
Either Klaw has the superpower of being to able to see through two-way glass, or he knew T’Challa was watching his interrogation the whole time. By T’Challa’s side is Okoye, played by The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira, who we expect will be the head of the Dora Milaje. For those new to Black Panther, they’re an all-female group of royal bodyguards who were traditionally assembled from rival tribes as potential Queens for the King of Wakanda.
We finally get to the Marvel Studios banner (which aptly fades from red into black) a minute into the teaser, and that’s when the music kicks in. The track playing over the second half of the trailer is ‘Legend Has It’ by Run the Jewels, and it’s a perfect fit. We were almost disappointed when we discovered this was a preexisting track and not a tease of Ludwig Goranson’s score for the movie. There’s also a few more shots of Wakanda here, as well as a closer look at Zuri.
“The world is changing,” we hear as the second bout of voiceover kicks in, and a masked man (this appears to be our first obscured look at Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger) engineers Klaw’s escape from the CIA. We’re guessing that the voiceover belongs to T’Challa’s father T’Chaka, who you may remember was killed in Captain America: Civil War, but is due to make an appearance in Black Panther. IMDb has an actor listed as playing a young T’Chaka, and Civil War‘s John Kani is listed as reprising his role. It’s also worth noting that the comics mythology involves the ability to talk to Wakanda’s ghosts, so we won’t rule anything out.
Things start ramping up at this point in the trailer, and we get our first glimpse of Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, out and about at a casino. Nakia’s traditionally a close friend of Okoye (who’s also present in this scene, kicking ass), and a fellow member of the Dora Milaje. In the comics Nakia was infatuated with T’Challa to the point that she plotted to kill his fiancee, which ultimately led to her being banished from Wakanda. If the movies follow a similar path, we could see her taking on the identity of Malice and becoming a future villain.
T’Challa walks towards a welcoming party here in his full Black Panther costume, minus the mask. And while he seems to have a wry smile on his face and his arms outstretched, it’s unclear whether the group he’s approaching are friendly or not. It looks like Killmonger is front and centre, next to a groups of Wakandan Security, Dora Milaje and various others who aren’t quite as clear. Could this be a third act encounter? Are the Dora Milaje there under duress? Is Killmonger attempting some kind of coup? There’s still a lot to figure out.
No need to dwell too much on these next couple of shots, but they do seem to reveal a couple of interesting plot points. First we see Klaw disguised as a paramedic as he pulls off some kind of heist at a museum. As long as he isn’t there to steal some Infinity Stone-esque MacGuffin, we’re fine with it.
And here’s T’Challa addressing the United Nations, which suggests the action won’t be limited to Wakanda, and that the African King will still be engaging in diplomacy with the wider world. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see political manoeuvring both at home and abroad to be a key theme running through the film. And that appears to be Florence Kasumba’s Ayo (who also appeared in Civil War) behind him, alongside Okoye and Nakia, her fellow Dora Milaje.
Here’s our first unobscured look at Michael B. Jordan as the film’s primary antagonist, Erik Killmonger. And oh my goodness, does he ever look the part. It’s no secret that the MCU has struggled when it comes to villains, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Black Panther buck that trend. Jordan starred in director Ryan Coogler’s last two features, Fruitvale Station and Creed, and has just signed on to his next film, Wrong Answer, so it’s fair to say they have a good working relationship. Given that Killmonger’s being escorted by Daniel Kaluuya’s W’Kabi here, who is Wakanda’s Head of Security and T’Challa’s second in command, it’s safe to assume he’s is in custody after orchestrating Klaw’s escape.
It appears that Killmonger is being brought in front of T’Challa and what we think is a council of Wakandan tribal elders known as the Taifa Ngao. The actor pictured above is Isaach De Bankole, an Ivorian Cesar-winning actor who’s playing a River Tribe Elder.
It’s Angela Bassett! Bassett plays T’Challa’s recently widowed mother Ramonda, seen here in a snowy setting alongside Nakia and Everett Ross. They look worried, and that’s probably because they’re being accosted by bad guys. Is that Winston Duke’s M’Baku we can spot at the end of the shot? There’s another character among our group of heroes, but we’ll get to her shortly…
Back to T’Challa and Killmonger, seen here fighting in front of the Taifa Ngao. If we had to guess, given their audience, this is probably some form of trial by combat that’s a feature of Wakandan justice. Killmonger seems to be very much on the offensive, though, doesn’t he?
And now here’s Killmonger taking on the Dora Milaje, but with a fresh new costume. The necklace he’s sporting here looks very similar to the one on the Black Panther costume. This has to be a coup, right?
By this point in the trailer everyone’s fighting, and here comes T’Challa’s sister Shuri to join the party. She was the obscured final member of Ramonda’s group in the earlier shot, but here we see her in all her glory, sporting two impressive Panther gauntlets that positively scream, “Don’t f*ck with me.” Shuri’s played by Guyanese actor Letitia Wright, who before now has mostly impressed on British television. In the comics Shuri has gone on to hold the Black Panther mantle, and based on this shot alone we’re already rooting for the movies to get there too.
In another shot from the same scene we see who Shuri’s facing. This appears to be a closer look at Winston Duke as M’Baku, a villain known as Man Ape in the comics, an alias we don’t expect to be used in the movie for obvious reasons. M’Baku is a renowned Wakandan warrior who tried to usurp the throne, but it looks like he’ll be playing second fiddle to Killmonger on the big screen.
Nothing much to see here. Just Black Panther unleashing some sort of purple forcefield on a moving car, then somersaulting over it as it crashes through the air, before landing nimbly on top of the car in front. But hey, cats always land on their feet, and if we learned anything from Civil War it’s that T’Challa can handle himself during a car chase.
And there’s the title card. Wow. We can’t wait for this movie, you guys. Black Panther so lit, indeed.