History of the Black Panther: Who Is T’Challa?

The MCU is getting more complicated with it’s newest hero.

Black Panther History Tchalla

With the Captain America: Civil War trailer tantalizingly close, the Black Panther is about to get the attention he rightfully deserves.

Although the African king is expected to only have a small part in the upcoming movie, Civil War is likely to provide some background info on T’Challa, setting up his 2018 standalone film.

Black Panther isn’t the most obscure character in the Marvel universe, but, sadly, he has not received the exposure he deserves (outside of the comics).

For that reason, here’s a few things you need to know about the history of the Black Panther:

Wakanda, Vibranium, and the Black Panther Legacy

Black Panther Wakanda

To understand who the Black Panther is, it’s important to understand where he comes from.

While most Marvel heroes are New Yorkers, T’Challa comes from the fictional African nation of Wakanda. In the comics, Wakanda is a technologically advanced nation which is known as the main place of export for the rare material vibranium, which is what Captain America’s shield is made of.

Because vibranium is so valuable, the kings of Wakanda have dressed in black to become symbolic protectors of the nation, known as Black Panthers. The title passes from monarch to monarch, and each king is granted superhuman powers by eating a rare Wakandan heart-shaped herb.

T’Challa the Black Panther

Black Panther Tchalla

The current Black Panther in the Marvel comic universe is T’Challa – this is also the character that will soon be appearing in the MCU.

T’Challa first appeared in a comic by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, penned in 1966. In his Marvel comics debut, T’Challa tests his steel by getting in a bit of a fight with the Fantastic Four and beating them all up, cementing his reputation as a pretty tough guy.

T’Challa’s primary adversary in the comics is a guy called Ulysses Klaw. The son of a Nazi war criminal, Klaw assassinated T’Chaka, who was T’Challa’s father and then-king of Wakanda.

In the comics, Klaw used a scientific macguffin to turn himself into a being of living sound, which probably made sense at the time, but has meant that T’Challa’s had a really hard time getting revenge for his father’s murder.