Superhero fans, movie fans and especially connoisseurs of black culture — American and African — are all eagerly awaiting the debut of Marvel’s “Black Panther” movie starring comic book’s first black superhero with an enthusiasm not often seen in American cinema.
“Black Panther” viewing parties are already being scheduled around the country for its February release, smack dab in the middle of Black History Month. There are lines of clothing based on the movie’s African style being prepared — the bright colors and Afrofuturism styles of Wakanda are in for the spring. And Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar was just named to produce the soundtrack.
And people are already calling the yet-to-be seen movie one of the most important of 2018, despite the fact that the character that has only appeared once on the silver screen and until now, has not occupied the same pantheon as comic book stalwarts like Superman, Batman and Spiderman.
But for some fans, none of that matters because the Black Panther holds a unique position in the superhero world and especially in the African and black diaspora.
“As the father of two little black boys I’m super excited to have a superhero that looks like them on screen,” said Glen Greezy of New York City, who along with more than 900 of his friends on Facebook, plan to hit Times Square and see the movie together on opening weekend. “Other superheroes are great and I see their movies too, but something about having a black man as the main character in a superhero movie is extra appealing.”
“Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous superhero, opens on February 16, picking up the adventures of the newly crowned African king and superhero who debuted in 2016′s “Captain America: Civil War.” Existing in the same shared universe as Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Spiderman, the Panther, however, is African royalty and his adventures center around his futuristic hidden homeland of Wakanda, considered to be the most technologically advanced nation on Marvel’s earth. In the new movie, T’Challa, the Black Panther’s real name, must battle long-time adversaries with the aide of his all-female bodyguards and a CIA agent to maintain control of his country and prevent a world war.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, it also has an all-star cast including Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Sterling K. Brown and more.