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Ryan Coogler & Marvel President Kevin Feige Talk Black Panther Trailer

Everybody's talking about the phenomenal Black Panther trailer. It looks as if director Ryan Coogler has delivered a Marvel film unlike any other, and the glimpse the trailer offered of Wakanda, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and life in the technologically advanced, secretive African nation has gotten the entire internet buzzing. While you can find a ton of frame-by-frame breakdowns online today, you're not going to do any better than Entertainment Weekly's conversation with Coogler and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige on what, exactly, that trailer was hinting at. First, let's have a fresh look at the trailer again:

The trailer gave us only brief glances at most of the major players in the film. While Boseman’s T’Challa is now the King of Wakanda, he’s got a lot of enemies, and the main villain is Michael B. Jordan‘s Erik Killmonger, who we see only briefly. We also get a quick look at Angela Bassett‘s Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother. We spend quite a bit of time with Andy Serkis‘ Ulysses and Martin Freeman‘s Agent Ross. Here’s some of what Feige and Coogler had to say:

The interrogation scene between Serkis’s Ulysses and Freeman’s Agent Ross, while T’Challa, and Danai Gurira‘s Okoye, his security chief, watch on.

Coogler: “One person knows quite a bit about Wakanda and another person who thinks they do, but they don’t…but I thought it would be awesome to start with a character who has seen Wakanda in its true light.”

This leads to the first, glorious shot of Wakanda, when T'Challa's space shuttle, the Royal Talon Fighter, lands after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Here we get a quick look at Forest Whitaker's character Zuri. 

Coogler: “Spirituality is something that exists in Wakanda in the comics, and it’s something we wanted to have elements of in the film. Forest’s character, more than anything, is a major tie-back to T’Challa’s father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance.”

On Wakanda itself, Feige and Coogler had this to say: 

Feige: “People who read the comics would be familiar with the Heart-Shaped Herb and the ceremonies that surround that…That’s partially spiritual. We certainly don’t call it magic, but there’s Vibranium that has been interwoven within that soil and that land for thousands of years, so there are other things going on with it.”
 
Coogler: “The Heart-Shaped Herb is how Black Panther achieves his powers. He can fight hand-to-hand with Cap, who’s a supersoldier, so he has super strength and heightened instincts that give him his enhanced abilities…The Heart-Shaped Herb is what Black Panthers over the generations would consume, once they earn the title, which gives them their physical edge.”

For a full breakdown of the trailer, check out EW's story here.

Here's the film's official synopsis:

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.

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