Black Panther Trailer Breakdown and Analysis

The Black Panther trailer takes us to places we've never been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here's everything we caught.

It’s here! Marvel has released the trailer for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. And while it’s hard to get excited for anything after watching J.R. Smith brick off-balance three point shots for a quarter (they debuted the trailer in the middle of the first quarter of the NBA Finals game), holy socks this trailer is amazingAnd as always, we picked through it to find every interesting shot, reference and sequence for you!

But first, maybe you should watch the trailer if you haven’t already because, as we just mentioned, it rules.

Take a look.

Ad – content continues below

We start the trailer being introduced (or reintroduced, if you want) to Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaw and Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross. Serkis previously played Klaw (also conveniently his supervillain name) in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #53, where he stole vibranium from Wakanda, murdered T’Challa’s father and got his hand chopped off. He then replaced it with a sonic gun and turned himself into a robot made of solid sound, something that will probably not happen here.

Ross made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War. He was created by Priest and Kenny Martinez in Ka-Zar, and brought back in the pages of Priest’s legendary run as writer on Black Panther in 1999. He’s a medium-high level State Department employee given the responsibility of guiding T’Challa around New York, where he then gets roped into fights with Mephisto, Atlantis, Man Ape, and Iron Man, and sits in on a diplomatic meeting between Black Panther, Dr. Doom, Namor, and Magneto. Needless to say, Priest’s run, which seems to have heavily influenced this movie, was awesome.

Klaw is explaining to Ross that Wakanda’s perception as a third world country is a front, as we get to see glimpses of the country from T’Challa’s perspective, and it looks incredible. The visuals seem to draw strong influence from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first two arcs on Black Panther (which have set the status quo for Wakanda in the rest of the Marvel Universe).

Coates has spent a lot of time delving into Wakandan geography and society. It’s a hyper-advanced, with diverse cultures and a deep connection to the geography. It’s also generally hidden from the rest of the world, something we saw in the post-credits scene in Civil War.

Black Panther gets shot up by (presumably) Klaw’s gang, but the bullets bounce off of him and he kicks the hell out of them. His suit is made of woven vibranium, an incredibly strong, valuable metal found only in a meteor that crashed in Wakanda a long time ago. Wakanda is the only source of vibranium on Earth, and it’s the source of their tremendous technological advancements.

Ad – content continues below

Hey you know how badass Michonne is? Multiply that by a million. Check out Danai Gurira as Okoye. T’Challa is the King of Wakanda, and he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and of course, we met him in Captain America: Civil War last year on screen).

Okoye is a member of the Dora Milaje, the King’s all-woman royal guard. We’ll see more of them throughout the trailer. For example…

Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje were created by Priest and Mark Texiera in 1998.

Here we see Forest Whitaker as Zuri, who in the comics was a warrior ally of T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father and predecessor as Black Panther).

This is Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger. Killmonger first showed up in Don McGregor and Rich Buckler’s Jungle Action in 1973, where it was revealed that his father was forced to help Klaw in his initial raid on Wakanda, and he and his family were exiled for it. He developed a hatred of the Black Panther, and turned himself into evil Batman – peak physical condition, genius strategist, science-ey guy – to fight him. It makes sense that Killmonger would be breaking Klaw out of jail here.

Ad – content continues below

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger

Here’s a look at him without the mask, presumably about to pay for the previous crimes in this sharp-looking Wakandan throne room…

He’s not the only villain in the movie, though…

That’s Winston Duke as M’Baku. In the comics, M’Baku was originally an Avengers villain known as Man-Ape, created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. He’s super fast and super strong, and has tried to lead many a coup against the throne.

From behind, this looks like Man Ape has captured Ramonda and Everett Ross. 

Here we see Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, a Dora Milaje guard…

Ad – content continues below

She’s walking through a casino that Okoye then rips up and oh my god you guys this might be the best Marvel trailer yet.

Angela Bassett is playing Ramonda, T’Challa’s stepmother and Queen Mother of Wakanda. They nailed so much of the look of Wakanda and Black Panther’s world here, it’s incredible. She looks like Brian Stelfreeze drew her.

Letita Wright as Shuri

Shuri! T’Challa’s sister (and eventual Black Panther herself) shows up here, packing panther-glove-cannons. She was created by Reggie Hudlin and John Romita, Jr. in 2005, became Panther in 2009, and has had quite a rid all in all. She’s played by Letitia Wright.

And that’s that! Did we miss anything? Guess wrong about plot points? Did we inspire you to go track down Priest’s run on Black Panther? Let us know in the comments!

Ad – content continues below