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Black Panther: What you need to know before watching the movie

Here’s a brief backgrounder to the character, based on the comics and animated movies

Gareth Kurt Warren, Editor - Guides
18:04 February 8, 2018

While Marvel movie fans will know the basics about the Black Panther, from Captain America: Civil War, there is much more to the King of Wakanda.

Here’s a brief backgrounder to the character, based on the comics and animated movies.


The inception

The character was created by Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby and made his debut in Fantastic Four #52 in July 1966.  

At the time he was the first African superhero, others followed later: Falcon in 1969; Luke Cage in 1972 and John Stewart’s Green Lantern (DC Comics) in 1971.

His powers

While not fully explored in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther gains his powers from an ancient Wakandan ritual. This is explored in the upcoming movie.


Together with his enhanced abilities, T’Challa is also a genius, well-trained in combat and martial arts and has access to futuristic technology. Oh, and he’s rich. Very rich. You’ll get a taste of that towards the end of the movie.

He’s loaded

How loaded? Very. GOBankingRates, an online personal finance resource, did a listing on the richest superheroes in both the Marvel and DC universe. While off the top of your head, Iron Man and Batman are your go-to superhero billionaires – you’re right. Black Panther on the other hand is a trillionaire – ranking first at $90 trillion.

Here are the others according to GOBankingRates:

2. Iron Man Net Worth: $30 Billion6. Lex Luthor Net Worth: $810 Million
3. Green Arrow Net Worth: $3 Billion7. Dr. Doom Net Worth: $800 Million
4. Batman Net Worth: $999.99 Million8. Professor X Net Worth: $750 Million
5. Emma Frost Net Worth: $900 Million9. Magneto Net Worth: $500 Million


If you don’t agree with the above list – bear in mind that these are fictional comic book heroes. However, I would love a good debate, argue with me here or head straight to GOBankingRates here.


Anything Black Panther-related should have an entire section dedicated to Shuri, his younger sister. Or half-sister to be precise. Shuri is a superhero in her own right, even becoming the Black Panther when T’Challa was injured.

She is relatively new in the world of comic books, making her first appearance in May 2005.

If you loved Shuri as much as I did, you’ll be glad to know that Letitia Wright will play her again in Avengers: Infinity War.


The Dora Milaje

To start: it’s pronounced "dora-meh-LAH-shay" and roughly translates as “Adored Ones”. They are the personal bodyguards of the King of Wakanda. Why would a superhuman, bulletproof Black Panther need protecting anyway? 

Despite being trained warriors they are also potential wives-to-be recruited from every tribe in Wakanda. T’Challa discontinued this ancient practice though, and in the comic Black Panther Vol 3 #8, he viewed them as daughters and not wives-in-training.


Nakia is T’Challa’s on-and-off girlfriend in the movie. Played by Lupita Nyong'o, Nakia in the comics was quite different than her depiction in the movie. Nakia from the comics had a crush on T’Challa and became quite intrigued with the Black Panther.

Chosen as one of the Dora Milaje, her career in the comics is full of obsession and jealousy. She eventually joined forces with Killmonger and went on to attack several of T’Challa’s allies even killing a few along the way. And you thought your ex-girlfriend was crazy.

Link with Daredevil

During a certain story-arc, Matt Murdock asks Black Panther to take up residence in New York – protecting Hell’s Kitchen. 

T’Challa begins working in a diner there and, as expected, fights crime.


Lastly, we get to everyone’s favourite Marvel villain. Erik Killmonger is played by Michael B. Jordan in the movie – though the character first made his appearance back in 1973. Originally named N'Jadaka, Killmonger is a native of Wakanda who was exiled since his father helped invaders attack Wakanda.

He moved to Harlem, New York and studied at MIT. He then got permission to return to Wakanda where he planned to overthrow the king. He tried, he lost. He died. :(


But then he was resurrected by the Mandarin. Remember the Mandarin? The bad guy Sir Ben Kingsley appeared to be in Iron Man 3? Yep that guy.

Well, Black Panther then defeated him again. The Mandarin stopped using his powers to resurrect him. He died. Though he was then resurrected again by his followers. This goes on and on BTW.

In other news, Killmonger is referenced in the song "King's Dead," by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Future, from the movie’s soundtrack.

Bonus | Did you know:

While we get a small glimpse into Black Panther’s love life in the movie, his escapades in the comics are a bit more interesting. His childhood sweetheart is none other than Ororo Munroe, or you will know her by another name: Storm from the X-Men.

They eventually married, making Storm the Queen of Wakanda – and later divorced as well.

Head here for a few fun facts about the movie