These are truly the best days for #Marvel fans. Even as we rejoice over the remarkable box office success of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, our eyes are being drawn to the next surefire blockbuster hits, including next year's Black Panther. Fans fell in love with Chadwick Boseman's portrayal of the character in last year's Captain America: Civil War, and we couldn't be more excited to see what's in store for the new King of Wakanda. Now, though, an exciting new synopsis has revealed just how high the stakes will be...
Check Out The Synopsis
The synopsis, courtesy of Licensing Global, reads:
"After the events of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakanadan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war."
It's a fascinating synopsis, packed with hints at the kind of film we can expect. So let's break it down...
1. Black Panther Is Set Shortly After The Events Of Captain America: Civil War
Back when Marvel were working on Captain America: Civil War, visionary #KevinFeige set a simple rule; unless otherwise stated, every Marvel movie is set in the year of its release. So the events of Iron Man happened in 2008, while Civil War is based in 2016. The key phrase in that sentence, though, is clearly "unless otherwise stated." If this synopsis is to be believed, then Black Panther (just like Spider-Man: Homecoming) launches straight out of Civil War.
As awkward as this may be for the overall continuity of the #MCU, it makes perfect sense from a creative standpoint. After all, Civil War shook up T'Challa's status quo in a fascinating way; he lost his father, and thus became King of Wakanda. In what's sure to have been a major error of judgment, T'Challa initially focused on vengeance against his father's killer. He didn't return home to consolidate his power or to comfort his people, who'd just lost their ruler. He may have overcome his need for vengeance, but it seems there have been consequences for this lapse. His new throne is dangerously unstable, and enemies are arrayed against him.
2. T'Challa Has Enemies; But Why?
The world has always been fascinated with Wakanda for one simple reason: vibranium. In the Marvel universe, vibranium is a rare precious metal with vibration-absorbing qualities; Captain America's shield is made out of it. Wakanda fiercely guards its vibranium reserves, although in Avengers: Age of Ultron, we learned that there's a thriving black market.
Meanwhile, Wakanda will have taken the world by surprise when it signed the Sokovia Accords. Some will have hoped that this would be the beginning of a new era of Western-Wakandan relations, and naturally their eyes will have been set on the ultimate prize of vibranium. Unfortunately, when T'Challa was exposed as the Black Panther it will have become pretty clear that Wakanda never intended to cooperate fully with the Sokovia Accords in the first place; their own superhero wasn't signed up to the Accords, after all!
Shadowy forces will clearly be gathering, and they'll be viewing T'Challa's new monarchy as vulnerable to regime change.
But T'Challa will also face opposition from inside Wakanda's borders; after all, his father T'Chaka essentially reversed centuries of isolationist foreign policy in order to sign the Sokovia Accords. Worse still, his son became consumed with vengeance, and actually revealed the existence of the Black Panther to the world's governments. T'Challa is returning home with his judgment already in grave doubt, and extremists like Killmonger are rising in influence.
Of course, T'Challa may face another consequence. Given Wakanda signed up to the Sokovia Accords, and he has been exposed as the Black Panther, then he may have needed to sign up to the Accords himself. That means that, for the first time in the history of Wakanda, the Black Panther may not have freedom to act of his own accord. The Sokovia Accords are incredibly restrictive, and that may explain why T'Challa has to seek allies in the CIA.
3. A Third World War?
Every Marvel movie has its own tone and style; Marvel like to blend their superhero action with different filmic genres. So, for example, Ant-Man is an heist movie, while Captain America: The Winter Soldier is more of a political thriller. Like The Winter Soldier, Black Panther looks set to be a political thriller, filled with politics and intrigue.
In this case, it's clear that rival powers have their eyes set on Wakanda's vibranium. It's a powerful metal; as we saw in Age of Ultron, it can be used to make some pretty devastating weapons. Some nations will be altruistic, believing they can use vibranium to create planetary defences; others, though, will be hoping to expand their own military might. Will the nations of the world ultimately go to war over who should control the vibranium? It will be up to T'Challa to expose the conspiracy and consolidate his power. If Wakanda falls to instability, then there will be global repercussions.
Thus, an isolationist African nation should become the potential trigger for World War III. The stakes have never been higher for T'Challa; if he loses his throne, then his country will fall to chaos, and it could well bring the whole world down in flames with it.
Do you think T'Challa's father, T'Chaka, did the right thing in signing Wakanda up to the Sokovia Accords?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Studios)