A couple of days ago, Marvel released the first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated Black Panther. While the teaser didn't break the record set by the first Thor: Ragnarok clip, it had 89 million views in its 24 hours. More importantly, it introduced viewers to Wakanda and the main characters.
The teaser didn't give away any major plot points, but that wasn’t its purpose. We feel that this is one of Marvel’s better teaser trailers, and we hope that future trailers don't reveal the entire plot, as the Spider-Man: Homecoming clips did.
So what did we learn from this first clip? Check it out! And don't worry, some scenes might invite speculation, but there's no one to say that it’s correct! So"¦spoiler alert?
Bilbo vs. Gollum
You might expect the trailer to open with the King of Wakanda, but instead, we see Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) interrogating Klaw (Andy Serkis). According to director Ryan Coogler, the scene takes place in a safehouse in South Korea, and its purpose was to show how little outsiders knew about Wakanda (Ross, a CIA operative, knows little to nothing about the country).
We met Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which the smuggler/arms dealer lost his arm when Ultron broke into his base. However, we don't know how much time has passed since then, and we don't know whether the Avengers captured Klaw at that time. We assume they didn't, since there’s shot in the teaser that could be from Klaw's capture scene. In that same shot, we see how formidable the Dora Milaje are.
So Klaw has no arm, but he’ll resemble the comics’ Klaw to a certain degree, since it was revealed that he'll use advanced Wakandan mining equipment as a sonic cannon.
What do you make of this? Did this heist take place before his capture or after Killmonger freed him?
We met Ross during Civil War, and his role in the trailer was to show how little the strongest and most capable intelligence agencies knew about Wakanda. So mission accomplished!
The real Wakanda
Wakanda was in no way the third world country Ross believed it to be, and the trailer revealed the kind of technology it possessed. Of course, we already knew how advanced it was from Captain America: Civil War, in which T'Challa tailed Iron Man without the latter knowing that he was being followed.
It was all thanks to the vibranium, which was only found in Wakanda. Vibranium could be used in all sorts of ways, including for making Frisbees and god-like androids.
However, technological advances didn't make the Wakandans forget tradition, and this was hinted at in the teaser. From garments to rituals, everything is specific to this country.
The trailer also showed T'Challa and Okoye (Danai Gurira, who was recently confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War) worrying about what Klaw knew and what the world might discover. After all, Wakanda's riches should remain a secret.
The Dora Milaje
We met a member of the Dora Milaje in Captain America: Civil War, but the Black Panther teaser revealed how awesome they truly are. There’s an entire squad of female warriors protecting the king, but some of the women play a bigger role than others. Civil War’s Ayo (Florence Kasumba, who also played Wonder Woman’s Senator Acantha), led a revolution against Black Panther in the comics (can we expect her to join Killmonger?)
Then there is Okoye (Danai Gurira), who is seen with T'Challa during Klaw's interview.
Lastly, we have Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), who falls in love with T'Challa in the comics.
With very few exceptions (Wonder Woman is at the top of the list), women haven't played vital roles in superhero films, other than being saved by superheroes. Marvel and Black Panther will help change that with the Dora Milaje.
In the comics, Zuri was an incredible warrior who served under T'Chaka, T'Challa's father and the king of Wakanda. According to director Ryan Coogler, Zuri served as a connection between the old and new Black Panther versions. Of course, it was Forest Whitaker under all that paint.
According to the director, Zuri mentored the young Black Panther, providing spiritual guidance as he worked to become a better king. We understand from the teaser trailer that he crowned the new king.
In the comics, Zuri was killed trying to protect T'Challa and his sister Shuri. We hope he doesn't meet the same fate when Killmonger and his allies attack the new king.
Killmonger and Klaw
In the comics, Erik Killmonger became a villain because Klaw forced Erik's father to attack Black Panther. This led to the exile of the entire family, which caused Erik to hate the rightful leader of Wakanda. Despite being just a warrior, he grew skilled enough to go toe-to-toe with the superhuman Black Panther.
In the trailer, he rescued Klaw. So, while Coogler revealed nothing about Killmonger’s origin, we assume that Killmonger will ally with Klaw in an attempt to overthrow T'Challa. During the breakout scene, he wears unique armor that combines tradition (the mask) and technology (we’re guessing he isn't wearing hockey pads).
He was as good as one can get. He also faced a squad of Dora Milaje, although it was later revealed that he brought allies from other tribes.
We can assume that he would have taken some of the warrior women with him when defeated, even without help.
Man-Ape and the split Wakanda
Again, when Killmonger faced the Dora Milaje, other tribes came to his aid. Man-Ape’s tribe won against an unknown foe as Shuri and Nakia watched, and we also saw them fighting against Killmonger.
And did we see Man-Ape capturing Ross and Ramonda?!?
According to the synopsis, T'Challa dealt with threats from both the outside (Klaw) and the inside (united tribes under Killmonger). But why was his rule contested? The teaser hinted that Black Panther was full of politics, but we can go back even further to Captain America: Civil War, when T'Challa broke the rules and took sides in a war that wasn't Wakanda's.
We assume that Killmonger, aided by Klaw and using his own skills, will defeat the leaders of other tribes and unite them against the Black Panther. Everything will lead toward a final, one-on-one confrontation like we've never seen before.
Did we ever see the villain and the hero battling with audiences, as gladiators did?
Of course, Shuri (Letitia Wright) wasn't the only royal family member who appeared in the teaser. However, she was the most memorable, as she faced Man-Ape and his tribe, presumably toward the end of the movie. Her weapons were just as memorable; she wielded a type of cannon, most likely with vibranium-based technology.
In the comics, the Panther God initially didn’t accept Shuri as Queen of Wakanda because of her personality, but she later succeeded her brother on the throne. We probably won't see that happen on the big screen anytime soon, although we can say that Letitia Wright actually looked more frightening than T'Challa did.
T'Challa's mother Ramonda (Angela Basset) also appeared in the teaser, which revealed that Basset will also have some action sequences in the film.
In the comics, Black Panther's powers were mystical and technological in nature. By consuming the Heart-Shaped Herb (found only in Wakanda), Black Panther gained superhuman abilities. It was explained that the herb had mutated because of the vibranium in the ground. But we can’t forget that the Panther God also played an important part.
We caught a glimpse of Zuri performing the ritual, with a couple of kids presumably preparing the herb.
Kevin Feige revealed that, while the process itself was spiritual, it had nothing to do with mythology and actual gods. We assume that the movie will explain Black Panther's powers by citing the miraculous properties of the vibranium.
We don't know about you, but we believe that this was yet another missed opportunity to introduce actual gods into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Warrior Falls fight
Warrior Falls featured in a couple of scenes in the teaser trailer. The first was when T'Challa became the new King of Wakanda. The second was when the final confrontation took place.
We saw an unmasked Black Panther approach the falls with his hands raised. Killmonger was clearly visible in the distance, along with members from other tribes. So it appeared that Killmonger's plan had succeeded and he earned the right to challenge the king.
T'Challa was smiling as if he embraced his destiny without any fear, even when so many opposed his rule.
Once again, we can’t stress enough how excited we are about seeing this fight.
In the comics, Killmonger was killed at Warrior Falls. Will this happen in the movie, as well? Or will T'Challa be the better man and spare his enemy, as his father’s voice-over implied?
Lastly, we should mention Black Panther's cool new powers. We’ve been aware since the release of Captain America: Civil War that T'Challa’s suit gave him the ability to fight Captain America. Without his suit, he was as good as Bucky Barnes.
His vibranium suit basically made him impervious to harm, and bullets bounced off him as if they were nothing.
The teaser’s conclusion revealed a cool new power, but we don't know whether it originates with T'Challa's suit. In the comics, the Heart-Shaped Herb gave him incredible powers, but Wakandan technology did, too (such as the ability to teleport short distances).
Can we assume that the suit enabled him to release some kind of energy that simply flattened and flipped a car? That’s extremely cool, but it didn’t happen in Wakanda, so how much of the film will take place in the outside world?
We'll find out when Black Panther is released on February 16, 2018.