The first Marvel movie is 2018 is already here, with Black Panther hitting cinema screens today. We had the chance to see the film ahead of time, meaning we could write down all the different easter eggs and references we could see and put them together for the intrepid Marvel geeks out there.
Here's everything we found:
As in the comics, Wakanda's vibranium supply is the result of a meteor strike in East Africa millennia ago. The area surrounding the mountain would become the nation of Wakanda, and the mountain itself was known as 'The Great Mound'. The mound was heavily mined by the Wakandans, and the resulting vibranium ore was refined to produce the fantastically advanced technology the country became known for.
All the traits we see in the film are exclusive to one of the two variants of vibranium that exist in the comics. Wakandan Vibranium, as it's known, is different to Antarctic Vibranium which is also known as Anti-Metal. The Wakandan variety is super strong, super light, bulletproof, absorbs sound waves, and so on. Anti-metal on the other hand emits a specific kind of wave that can separate and liquefy metal on a molecular level. In the comics Black Panther himself has claws made from Anti-Metal because of the advantages those unique properties have in combat.
Apparently the metal's properties have never been fully explored in the comics, beyond a few traits, which meant the filmmakers had a lot of freedom to showcase what it could do.
Like Father Like Son
The start of the film confirms that King T'Chaka was Black Panther before his son, and later reveals the mantle is exclusive to the monarch/Head of State. In the comics a change in the mantle came with the passing of the previous Panther, but obviously that wasn't the case in the MCU since T'Challa clearly earned the right to assume the Black Panther mantle before his father died during the events of Civil War.
In the comics T'Challa's sister Shuri claimed both the throne mantle of the Black Panther for herself, after T'Challa was left comatose after a battle with Doctor Doom and lost his powers.
Fun fact: the actor who played young T'Chaka is South African actor Atandwa Kani, son of Jon Kandi who plays the elder T'Chaka. It's perfect casting too, since at first glance it looked as though it was T'Challa actor Chadwick Boseman. I thought so anyway.
The same link isn't true of Denzel Whitaker, who plays the younger version of Forrest Whitaker's Zuri. They just, coincidentally, share the same last name.
Black Panther's Powers
The powers depicted in the film aren't too different from those in the comics. In both versions one must consume the heart-shaped herb to receive the powers of the Black Panther. While the comics portray this as a purely mystical ritual to those worth of the title, thanks to a bargain with the panther goddess Bast/Bastet, in the film it's implied that the vibranium in the great mound affected local flora and the herb is a result of that.
The film also mixes things up by showing there can be more than one Black Panther at any given time, while in the comics the mantle can only be held by a single individual. The only time there was an exception to this was after Shuri claimed the mantle for herself, T'Challa was able to strike a bargain with a different panther god for a similar powerset.
The powers bestowed upon the Black Panther include super strength, speed, agility, stamina, enhanced reflexes, and faster healing. Panthers are also able to commune with past Black Panthers, and draw on their knowledge and experience. This is alluded to in the film, though since Killmonger could visit his own father it means their ancestors don't necessarily need to have been Black Panthers themselves.
The tech also plays a big role in the film and the comics. Film T'Challa receives a new suit from Shuri that's able to absorb and store kinetic energy for use later. The way it expands around his body is also reminiscent of Tony Stark's Bleeding Edge armour, though that's nano-technology rather than Vibranium. Bleeding Edge also seems to be appearing in Infinity War, if the Super Bowl trailer is anything to go by.
M'Baku and the Jabari
Of all the liberties taken with the Black Panther film, none come close to the changes made to M'Baku presented here as the leader of the technophobic and tradition focused Jabari tribe.
In the comics M'Baku is a supervillain, and member of the white gorilla cult that's been outlawed in Wakanda. M'Baku is usually able to receive superhuman powers in a mystical ritual similar to that of Black Panther, though it involves killing a rare Wakandan white gorilla, eating its flesh, then bathing in its blood. Those abilities include superhuman strength, durability, stamina, speed, and agility, which M'Baku often uses to try and usurp the throne and instil the white gorilla cult as the dominant religion in Wakanda. This is all alluded to in the film with the presence of gorilla imagery in the Jabari city, though M'Baku himself is less a villain and more a reluctant ally to T'Challa.
In the comics M'Baku's villainous alter ego is Man-Ape, though it's been confirmed that this name will never be used in the MCU because of the obvious racist connotations.
In the comics N'Jadaka is a Wakandan whose father was coerced into helping Klaw, and was exiled as a result - leading N'Jadaka to grow up in the US and develop a deep hatred of Wakanda and the Black Panther. He adopted the name Erik Killmonger, and eventually returned to Wakanda as an adult.
Killmonger resented the so-called "colonial influence" that came from T'Challa opening up Wakanda to the outside world - leading him to stage multiple takeovers to restore the country to a more traditional way of life. That's something that's clearly been adapted for M'Baku.
Killmonger's backstory in the film is mostly faithful, but there have been some liberties. Here Erik Stevens (Michael B Jordan) is the son of N'Jobu (Sterling K Brown), the younger brother of King T'Chaka who had been sent overseas as a spy. Erik (birth name N'Jadaka) was the result of N'Jobu falling in love with an American woman. Unfortunately N'Jobu realised the plight of black people across the world, and allied himself with Klaue - supplying information that allowed the arms dealer to steal vibranium. For this T'Chaka kills N'Jobu and leaves Erik alone in the US.
Erik's later motivations are similar to that of his father. He has a deep hatred of the Black Panther, and seeks to return to Wakanda to usurp the throne and gain control of its technology to help oppressed people fight back - uniting the world under Wakandan rule. Like his comics counterpart he attended MIT and left with an MBA and PhD, but joined the military and gained a reputation as a ruthless black-ops soldier. It's here he earns the name 'Killmonger', and hones his skills ready to take the Wakandan throne.
We first saw Klaue, played by Andy Serkis, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where it was confirmed he had a history with Wakanda and stole their vibranium at an unspecified point in the past. This is alluded to here, and it was confirmed that he's the only outsider to have seen what Wakanda really is and lived (or was, now that Captain America and Bucky have been there). Klaue managed to make his getaway by detonating an explosive at the border, killing W'Kabi's (Daniel Kaluuya) parents in the process.
In the comics Klaw, as it's spelt, has a similar backstory with Wakanda, though he's portrayed as the scientist son of a Dutch Nazi rather than a South African arms dealer. Klaw's father had attempted to invade Wakanda during the second world war, and Ulysses heard stories that led to an obsession with the country and its vibranium. He eventually managed to steal some vibranium for himself, which led to him killing King T'Chaka during his getaway. That led to T'Challa having a lifelong vendetta against Klaw, which was transferred over to W'Kabi in the film.
Klaue also shows off his brand, first mentioned on AoU, which is the Wakandan glyph for thief.
After losing his arm to Ultron during his last appearance, Klaue has replaced it with an advanced prosthetic described as a Wakandan mining tool that fires sonic pulses. This is similar to his weaponry in the comics, though there he carries a sonic blaster of is own design. The comics blaster is very much a weapon in its appearance, with no function as a surrogate arm.
Ultron and Sokovia
Multiple references are made to both Ultron and Sokovia, particularly where the vibranium is concerned. It's revealed that King T'Chaka told the UN Klaue had stolen all of Wakanda's Vibranium, which later found its way to Sokovia as part of Ultron Prime. It's later assumed by Everett Ross that the vibranium Klaue is selling in South Korea was recovered from the ruins of Sokovia rather than being obtained elsewhere.
What are Those?!
Shuri clearly isn't very receptive of T'Challa's footwear, pointing at his sandals and asking "what are those?!" - a reference to the viral video where Instagram user youngbusco asks a police officer what the hell kind of boots he's wearing.
At least T'Challa wasn't also wearing socks.
Another Broken White Boy
Shuri is clearly excited at the opportunity to operate on Everett Ross, excitedly proclaiming that she has "another broken white boy to fix". This is a reference to Bucky's fate at the end of Civil War, which saw him cryogenically frozen until Wakandan scientists could remove all his HYDRA brainwashing/programming. The first issue of the Avengers: Infinity War preview also confirmed that Shuri was personally responsible for deprogramming Bucky.
Automated Shoes in that Old American Movie
Shuri gives T'Challa some new advanced footwear that can absorb sound (which is why they're called sneakers) and automatically wrap around his feet when he puts his feet in the soles. She claims they were inspired by an old American movie T'Chaka used to watch, though the identity of the film wasn't elaborated on further. The only reference that seems to fit, however, is Back to the Future 2 which features the famous self-tying Nike shoes.
BTTF 2 isn't exactly old, though, having been released in 1989. That said, Peter Parker called The Empire Strikes Back "that really old movie", so who knows.
Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee appears as a patron in the South Korean casino, claiming T'Challa's chips for himself when he leaves them unattended next to Everett Ross.
The film never goes into great detail about the Dora Milaje, other than the fact that they're loyal to the throne of Wakanda regardless of who sits on it. The comics reveal that they are an all-female group of warriors, selected from all the Wakanda tribes to protect the monarch. They were also intended to be a group of potential queens for the king, ensuring some sort of peace by letting each tribe had the chance to have one of their own join the royal family.
That last note may not be true in the MCU, since Okoye is confirmed to be married to W'Kabi and T'Challa's ex-girlfriend is also confirmed not to be a member of the Dora Milaje.
Wizard of Oz
After Everett Ross wakes up from surgery, he demands to know what's going on and asks Shuri if he's in Wakanda. She responds with a lovely sarcastic "no, it's Kansas," a clear reference to the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy says that she and Toto aren't in Kansas anymore.
What is Love?
While Klaue being held in custody, he won't stop repeating the same line from the 1993 song What is Love by Haddway. There's no real reason why it's this song in particular (other than to be annoying), but it did see an increase in popularity thanks to Saturday Night Live.
Post Credit Scene #1
The first credits scene is T'Challa's "I am Iron Man" moment, and following advice from Everett Ross he seems ready to unveil Wakanda's true nature to the rest of the world. This also happened in the comics, much to the disdain of many Wakandans, since T'Challa realised that separating the country from the rest of the world wasn't doing any good.
Post Credits Scene #2
The second and final post credits scene involves Bucky waking up in a tent surrounded by random children, only to find Shuri waiting outside. As mentioned before (from the Infinity War Prelude comic), she was the one to remove the HYDRA programming from his mind. Clearly she's been successful, paving the way for Bucky to join the Wakandan army during Infinity War.
After having seen the film you might be wondering, where the hell is the soul stone? It's the sixth and final infinity stone, and with Infinity War less than three months away we still don't know where it is. The fact Thanos sent an entire army of Outriders to Wakanda in the trailer for the film means it must be there, but it's not clear in which shape or form.
Some has theorised that the soul stone was what let Black Panther commune with his ancestors, though the film proved that this wasn't the case. I had wondered whether the orange sand they covered T'Challa and Killmonger in during the ritual was the soul stone in another form (like how the red reality stone was in liquid form during Thor: The Dark World), but since T'Challa was still able to commune with his father without it that can't be the case.