In recent weeks, the Black Panther cast has really started to come together. It was announced way back in 2014 that Chadwick Boseman will be playing the lead T’Challa in the standalone adventure, with the character first being introduced in this month’s Captain America: Civil War. This past week has seen two major additions, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress Lupita Nyong’o in talks to play the love interest and Creed star Michael B. Jordan taking on a role believed to be the villain. Now comes a report that most of the cast will be made up of African-American or African actors. Which makes sense, since the story will be primarily set in the fictional African city of Wakanda.
In the first Civil War post-credit scene, we got our first glimpse of Wakanda, which is where The Winter Solider is now locked away. And we got to see the giant Black Panther statue that guard’s T’Challa’s place of business. This is the first time an entire nation from the Marvel comic books has been introduced in a tag at the end of a movie, with these sequences usually used to introduce new characters or plot points moving forward in the MCU.
During the latest Empire Film Podcast, Marvel boss Kevin Feige dropped by, explaining why Civil War was used to introduce the word of Black Panther. He also had some interesting info to share on T’Challa’s solo movie. He explains.
“That will be amongst the best ensembles we’ve ever had. And 90% of the cast is either African or African-American.”
Aside from Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, no other cast has been announced at this time, but there are reportedly several other key roles that need to be filled. While Jordan is being called the ‘villain’, exactly which character he is playing has not yet been divulged.
It is possible that Lupita Nyong’o is playing part of the Dora Milaje, an elite group of female bodyguards who are also potential candidates to become the new queen of Wakanda. Her character hasn’t been officially confirmed at this point, either. One member of the Dora Milaje was revealed in Captain America: Civil War, which also showed the death of T’challa’s father, T’chaka (John Kani).
During certain scenes of Marvel’s Civil War, T’challa and T’chaka are seen speaking the Wakandan language, which director Joe Russo recently revealed is an African language known as Xhosa, which Chadwick Boseman learned for these scenes. The director also revealed that over 7.6 million people speak this language, but it isn’t known if Lupita Nyong’o, who was raised in Kenya, speaks this language, or if she will be required to learn it for the role.
Ryan Coogler (Creed) is directing Black Panther from his own script, with Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story) writing an earlier draft. Producer Kevin Feige recently revealed that production will begin in early 2017, while teasing that casting announcements will start to be made this summer. We don’t know how many major characters have yet to be cast, or if a previously-established character with Wakandan ties will return. Last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced fans to Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), although we don’t know for sure if he will be back in Black Panther. He may be part of the 10% non-African cast.