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Everything We Learned About BLACK PANTHER at Marvel’s SDCC Panel

Everything We Learned About BLACK PANTHER at Marvel’s SDCC Panel

While Thor: Ragnarok has gotten at least part of its footage out into the world in trailer form, Black Panther has thus far remained a treat just for attendees of Comic-Con‘s Hall H. That said, everything we saw at the panel–an extended scene and a montage beginnings with a studio logo–does seem like it will soon take trailer form. So keep watch!

Like you’ve seen from trailer one, Black Panther has a unique design aesthetic we haven’t seen a lot of, one that could be called Afrocentric sci-fi. Outside of the Black Muslim planet in the Riddick movies, a majority of our sci-fi films assume that the dominant aesthetic in space and the future will be Western or East Asian; here, we see what things look like when Africa has the most advanced nation in the world. And it’s a beauty.

Also, we can’t help but notice that “futuristic aircraft flying towards massively technologically advanced cityscape” is a favored establishing shot of Marvel Studios lately.

Here’s what else we saw:

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22: Actor Chadwick Boseman from Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther' at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 22, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Chadwick Boseman

A serious man

While the Guardians of the Galaxy movies (and apparently Thor: Ragnarok) have been pushing semi-camp, retro humor to the max, Black Panther looks like a hard-hitting action movie, as demonstrated by an extended scene we saw in which T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and friends try to stop a bad deal going down in a fancy casino. Aside from a handful of technological flourishes, it would not have felt out of place in the world of James Bond, given its hard-hitting hand-to-hand combat, and T’Challa using a catlike form of parkour involving large feline vertical leaps into clinging to things.

Corrupt, what Everett is

Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross is still up to no good. As one of the participants in the deal going down, he’s looking to trade diamonds for vibranium with Andy Serkis’ Klaw, who’s hiding the nigh-indestructible metal in his crotch. Though he comes to the table with a big entourage, he affirms to Ross, somewhat dubiously, that they’re not here for him, but just to gamble.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22: Actor Andy Serkis from Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther' at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 22, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Andy Serkis

Klaw lives up to his name

Now sporting a prosthetic arm, Klaw looks like he’s part mannequin most of the time, but in the heat of battle, his new arm splits lengthwise down the middle to reveal a blue energy cannon. Based on this scene and the trailer montage, he gets quite a bit of use out of it.

Serkis said the other big change to his character is that he gets to wear pants.

The cat’s crew

Letitia Wright’s Shuri is the Q of this crew, who develops new technology, weapons, and is generally, as the actress puts it, “Just a strong black woman!” Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, is a spy–a War Dog– who goes out into the larger world and helps keep Wakanda hidden, while letting folks back home know what’s going on out there.

Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya is W’kabi, T’Challa’s oldest friend and the head of security. He sees what’s trying to come in to Wakanda and he stops it. “He’s a very hidden figure,” the actor said. Forest Whitaker’s Zuri is the king’s childhood mentor.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22: Actor Danai Gurira from Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther' at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 22, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Danai Gurira

Even Michonne needs weapons training

Danai Gurira said there was not a lot of overlap with her existing weapons training from The Walking Dead, so she had to learn a lot of new skills. In particular, we saw her use a telescoping spear to great and devastating effect, allowing her to take down multiple enemies on all sides in a way that a katana just can’t.

She loves that Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, because, as she loudly proclaimed to the hall, “It is on the CONTINENT of AFRICA!”

Represent

Speaking of which, director Ryan Coogler gave an impassioned introduction about how, when he was a kid, he would always go into comic book stores and ask if there were any superheroes that looked like him, because he didn’t see any. He took this project on so he could remedy that for the next generation.

(Anecdotally, I’ve heard kids in stores ask for a Black Panther figure and have their parents be unable to find one, simply because the Civil War-based action figure was so popular it didn’t stick around long. The new movie should change that, with a 12-inch movie-accurate figure one of the many offerings coming out next year.)

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22: Director Ryan Coogler from Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther' at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 22, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Ryan Coogler

New duds

Who needs a phone booth when your superhero suit can come on and off you in a cloud of nanomites? The new Black Panther outfit appears to do exactly that, like Spider-Man’s black costume without the messy, symbiotic side effects.

Like Spidey, though, T’Challa can’t stop an evil version of the suit being utilized, as Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger gets one too. It’s similar to the panther suit, but with gold highlights instead of silver, suggesting a jaguar rather than a Panther.

Speaking of…

It looks like we’re going to see the waterfall fight between Panther and Killmonger that resulted in Panther losing during their first encounter. We’re also going to get a whole lot more of Panther leaping on to the tops of moving cars (another theme, as Ant-Man and the Wasp will do similarly), and vehicle chases with Klaw using his gun hand out the car window. The aesthetic of the city streets at night is bright and colorful, although the casino in which the earlier fight scene happened is a deep red (like most movie casinos) with a Matrix-green security hallway to be entered first (and largely ignored by characters who are nearly all packing weapons that can’t be detected).

Are you panting for the new trailer to get an official release? You should be. Let’s discuss in comments.

Images: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty images for Disney

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