Black Panther has been around in the stands for quite a while now. He first appeared in an issue of the Fantastic Four back in 1966. He’s moved on to the big screen, first appearing in Captain America: Civil War back in 2016. Now he’s got his own title feature film. However, people don’t really know much about this sleek superhero.
With that in mind, we prepared a list of 10 little known facts about T’Challa, the Black Panther of the great civilization of Wakanda.
Black Panther Party
In 1966, the same year Black Panther debuted, there was a political party by the same name that came to widespread existence. Many may associate the two together but T’Challa predated the Black Panther Party by several months since he debuted in February.
Marvel didn’t see any problem with the naming coincidence until 1972. This is when T’Challa’s superhero identity was briefly changed to Black Leopard. However, it was reverted back to the original title eventually. According to Stan Lee, the name was actually inspired by a pulp adventure hero who had a sidekick black panther.
Black Panther’s Name
The name Black Panther has a very rich lore. The name Black Panther is actually a ceremonial title given to the chief of the Panther Tribe of the nation of Wakanda. It’s a symbol of office like that of kings.
And just like with kings, the title is hereditary, but one must be worthy of the title and must pass the trials necessary. When T’Challa’s father was killed, he was next in line, however his uncle had to step in since he wasn’t ready to pass the trials yet.
The Dora Milaje
The Black Panther has a group of elite warrior bodyguards called the Dora Milaje. In the comics, though, they weren’t necessarily bodyguards, but were considered ceremonial wives-in-waiting.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, they were rewritten as king’s bodyguards instead, and they were all badass fighters. Which is still in line with the comics’ version since in the comics they were a group of superior women from each tribe in Wakanda.
Actor Wesley Snipes almost played the role Black Panther; the talk about a Black Panther feature film has been going around for as early as 1992. During that time Snipes was a pretty big actor starring in a number of major block buster movies.
After some time, Snipes actually confirmed the rumors that he was supposed to play T’Challa. The film went through development but didn’t push through. Instead, Snipes played a different Marvel character–Blade.
Original Concept Art
Black Panther was created by comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The original design was very different from the current one. Kirby’s original concept involved a gray and yellow bodysuit and a cape and was called Coal Tiger.
That eventually changed and everything was traded in for a much sleeker black outfit. Which, to be honest, is a lot better than the original one.
Hell’s Kitchen, as everyone knows is Matt Murdock or The Daredevil’s territory. However after a certain story arc in the comics, Daredevil had to take a break from his superhero duties, and Black Panther briefly took over.
This was after T’Challa Woke up from a coma and had lost all his powers. He had to reaffirm his self, so he took on the duty of protecting Hell’s Kitchen. During this Time, Shuri, his sister, was the Black Panther.
T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, debuted in 2015 in Black Panther volume 4 issue number 2. When T’Challa ended up in a coma, Shuri was nominated to step up and take on the Black Panther mantle. She successfully passed all the trials, but she was rejected at first because of her lifelong jealousy and schemes to become the Black Panther.
However, when Wakanda was threatened, she saved the day and was finally accepted by everyone. The Panther God even ended up giving her the Black Panther powers as a reward.
Ororo Munroe, also known as X-Men’s Storm, is the wife of T’Challa. They were married in 2006. In the comics, the two superheroes supposedly met and fell in love when they were younger.
However, in 2012 after T’Challa returned from hell’s Kitchen and got his powers back, Wakanda was attacked and the X-Men were branded as enemies of Wakanda, in turn, T’Challa’s marriage to Ororo was annulled. After the break-up, Ororo rebounded to Logan also known as Wolverine.
Actor Chadwick Boseman who plays the title role in the feature film chose to play the role with an African accent and when asked why, this is what he said:
“Colonialism in Africa would have it that, in order to be a ruler, his education comes from Europe. I wanted to be completely sure that we didn’t convey that idea because that would be counter to everything that Wakanda is about. It’s supposed to be the most technologically advanced nation on the planet. If it’s supposed to not have been conquered — which means that advancement has happened without colonialism tainting it, poisoning the well of it, without stopping it or disrupting it — then there’s no way he would speak with a European accent.”
First Black Superhero
Black Panther was the very first black superhero in history. Though, there have been Lobo from the Dell Comics who was the very first black character to star in his own comic book, he didn’t have super powers.
DC had their first black superhero in 1971 in the character of John Stewart, Hal Jordan’s substitute Green Lantern.