This week’s Black Panther marks the first solo feature film for, well, Black Panther. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen him onscreen.
Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, actually made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in 2016, while his nemesis, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), appeared even before that, in 2015.
But if your recall of the previous Marvel movies is fuzzy (or if you never saw them to begin with), don’t fret — we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know.
What other Marvel movies feature Black Panther?
Black Panther’s first (and, until Black Panther, only) appearance in the MCU was in Captain America: Civil War. The film also featured the first glimpses of Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), T’Chaka (John Kani), and Ayo (Florence Kasumba), all of whom return in Black Panther.
But the first Black Panther character we met in the MCU was actually Ulysses Klaue, who has a small role in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Do I need to watch those movies before Black Panther?
No. It might be nice if you did, because Civil War, Ultron, and the others do provide some added context. But Black Panther recaps all of the most pertinent details.
Can you give me a rundown of Captain America: Civil War anyway?
Black Panther is just a subplot in Captain America: Civil War — the struggle between Cap and Iron Man is the major focal point — but sure, I can fill you in on all the Black Panther-related stuff you missed.
T’Challa’s father T’Chaka dies, making T’Challa the new king of Wakanda. T’Chaka is killed in an explosion at a United Nations summit in Vienna. T’Challa, who was with him but survived, vows to avenge his father by killing Bucky Barnes, whom he believes carried out the attack.
T’Challa is also, separately, the Black Panther of Wakanda. Think of him as a superpowered protector of the nation, blessed with enhanced physical attributes and a bulletproof high-tech suit. The hows and whys of the Black Panther role aren’t really explained in Civil War, however — that’s left for Black Panther to do.
Wakanda is very isolated, but slowly opening up. The country is described by one outsider as “traditionally reclusive,” but T’Chaka makes it clear that the Wakandans have been making active outreach efforts recently.
Ayo is part of T’Challa’s security detail. The Dora Milaje warrior appears only briefly but makes a strong impression.
Everett Ross is in T’Challa’s orbit. Ross is a CIA agent trying to contain the Avengers and Bucky in Civil War. He crosses paths with T’Challa multiple times.
T’Challa decides on mercy. T’Challa’s revenge mission ends when he finds Zemo, the man who’s really responsible for the UN attack. Rather than kill Zemo, though, T’Challa decides he’s done letting vengeance consume him, and turns Zemo over to the authorities.
T’Challa takes Bucky back to Wakanda with him. In the end credits scene for Civil War, T’Challa agrees to let Bucky stay on ice and in hiding in Wakanda.
What about Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Although Black Panther is not in Age of Ultron, the film does start laying the groundwork for his eventual debut — mostly centered around Klaue.
Wakanda’s greatest natural resource is vibranium. It’s a special metal found only in Wakanda, although very limited quantities have made it outside the country. Most of the world mistakenly believes that Wakanda has no more vibranium left.
Klaue, a black-market arms dealer, is the rare outsider who’s been to Wakanda. He successfully made off with a large amount of vibranium, but not before getting caught and branded (literally) as a thief.
Klaue has a history with Wakanda. A dossier glimpsed in Age of Ultron reveals that Klaue was hired at one point to murder T’Chaka, and that his great-grandfather was killed by a previous Black Panther.
Klaue loses an arm. Ultron blasts it off during an argument. This is relevant because he has an exciting replacement in Black Panther.
We’ve seen vibranium in action before. Captain America’s shield is made of the stuff, as explained in Captain America: Civil War. In Ultron, the supervillain buys vibranium from Klaue and uses it to create a doomsday device.
That actually seems like a lot of stuff!
Eh, it’s not that bad. Again, the most relevant information is rehashed in Black Panther.
Will Black Panther be involved in future MCU movies?
Oh, you can count on it. In fact, he and his friends will be back just three months from now, for Avengers: Infinity War.