Black Panther: the first trailer
It has been approximately 72 hours since the Black Panther teaser trailer was released and I have yet to find anything resembling chill when it comes to this 1 minute and 54 second preview. I screamed out loud three times during my first watch. The second time, I teared up a bit. By the third, my partner had to take my phone away and say, “OK. That’s enough.” I still watched it four more times after that.
Any of you who follow me on Twitter or read my writing on this site know that I’m easily excited. I speak in hyperbole often. I cry often. My reaction to the Black Panther trailer is not just a result of me being my usual extra self. If you want to experience true joy, look up some of the reaction videos on YouTube. Black Twitter was at its best on Friday night when the trailer dropped. Everyone is really f-cking excited for this movie, as we should be. When Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa debuted in Captain America: Civil War, we knew Black Panther was going to be Marvel’s most anticipated upcoming film. (Avengers: Infinity War? I don’t know her.) We were excited before knowing any plot details and before seeing a single frame from Ryan Coogler’s film. Now, our excitement is warranted. Now, we have full scenes to obsess over and those scenes do not disappoint. My god, those scenes are all incredible. I’m going to try to keep my all caps to a minimum in this post but first, I have to say this: Wakanda looks SO RIDICULOUSLY DOPE.
Before I get to the wonderful world of Wakanda, I want to start with writer Ira Madison III’s tweet that hilariously summed up my first thoughts of the trailer:
Even though those two white men are Ulysses Klaue aka Klaw (Andy Serkis) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), two characters we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before, I was still a bit thrown off that they got the opening spot of the trailer. But Klaw is, if you follow the comics, a known adversary of T’Challa (and at least he’s in chains when we first see him) and Ross is a Black Panther ally. It looks like these two will be used to bridge the existing Avengers universe and Wakanda.
I’ve admitted before that my Black Panther knowledge was pretty entry level before the film was announced but since then, I’ve read everything I can find on T’Challa and his nation state of Wakanda, the most technically advanced nation in all of Marvel comics due to its large resources of vibranium, the mystical metal that Captain America’s shield is made from. I repeat, an African nation is a technological powerhouse. That means not only will many of the black characters in this film get to be badass, they will also be brilliant. When Ross calls Wakanda “third world,” it feels like a nod to the stereotypes often placed on all African countries. Also, it’s an important to note that Wakanda is a mystery to anyone outside of it and that the Third World classification is a deliberate cover so that the country can remain sequestered and unapologetically black. Oh yeah, don’t let the white guys fool you, this movie is super black.
This is the film that promised to be “90 per cent African or African American,” and the rest of the trailer delivers on that promise. 30 seconds in, we finally get to see Wakanda in all of its colourful, waterfall-flowing glory. Shout out to Coogler, cinematographer Rachel Morrison and costume designer Ruth E. Carter for the breathtaking visuals of Wakanda. It looks perfect.
Here’s what we know about what’s happening in Wakanda when Black Panther commences: King T’Chaka was killed, leaving his son T’Challa, to rule the nation. Based on the trailer’s voiceover, a running theme of the story will be T’Challa’s ability to lead. Can he be a “good man with a good heart” and a king? A superhero is only as compelling as his or her internal conflicts and T’Challa’s are complex and fascinating.
We can’t have a hero without a villain. Enter Michael Bae Jordan, the reason for trailer scream #2. Am I going to be distracted by his handsome the entire movie? Probably. MBJ is playing Erik Killmonger (lol), a Wakandan exile who wants to take down T’Challa and all of the country’s elite. To do that, he’ll have to go through an all-female legion of bodyguards called the Dora Milaje, headed by Danai Gurira’s Okoye. She. Looks. So. Freaking. Flawless. Lupita Nyong’o, who did not get enough screen time at all in this teaser plays Nakia, another member of the Dora Milaje and T’Challa’s rumoured love interest. They better make out multiple times. Also, can we have a Dora Milaje spin-off movie ASAP? I don’t really have the words to express how it feels to see so many black women in this film playing soldiers and scientists and all-around badasses. I’m going to cry again.
I could go through all of the other epic star sightings in this teaser but we don’t have all day (no disrespect to Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker).
The only thing I didn’t like about this trailer is that we’re still 7 months and 3 days away from Black Panther’s release date.