Feige Explains Black Panther's Heart-Shaped Herb

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Anticipation has been high in regard to Black Panther since the studio announced it. With the arrival of the teaser trailer, that enthusiasm has reached new heights. What we saw of Wakanda looked absolutely stunning, and the action sequences look like none we've seen before (save for T’Challa's action scenes in Captain America: Civil War).

Like any teaser trailer, this one revealed a number of details about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the character. The most interesting one of all concerns the source of T'Challa's powers.

In the comics, Black Panther gains his superhuman abilities via the Heart-Shaped Herb, which is found only in Wakanda. Thought to be a gift from the Panther God, the herb is similar to others, except for the fact that the Vibranium in the soil has mutated it. The initiated warrior’s body is covered with oils from the herb and the warrior basically becomes superhuman. However, only the strongest survive the process.

So the comics explain Black Panther’s powers by intertwining myth with science.

Kevin Feige has said that this won't be the case in the MCU. The MCU version of the Heart-Shaped Herb can be said to have spiritual powers, but he wouldn't go so far as to say they were magical:

People who read the comics would be familiar with the Heart-Shaped Herb and the ceremonies that surround that. That's partially spiritual. We certainly don't call it magic, but there's Vibranium that has been interwoven within that soil and that land for thousands of years, so there are other things going on with it (Entertainment Weekly).

We haven't seen actual gods in the MCU to date, mainly because their power and/or magic have always been described as being the result of the use of advanced science. Maybe this will change as Doctor Strange's influence within the shared universe grows.

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