Image Source: Everett Collection
With the glorious premiere of Black Panther finally upon us, there’s a lot to take in. The fire soundtrack? Those intricate costumes? Danai Gurira kicking ALL of the ass? We’d forgive you if your head started to spin a little bit. Black Panther is a thrilling trip to Wakanda, but there are a few things you might need to refresh yourself on before heading to T’Challa’s kingdom. Chiefly, why he becomes king of his nation to begin with.
We’re first introduced to the Black Panther, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), back in Captain America: Civil War. As a reminder, the film focuses on the two opposing sides of the proposed Sokovia Accords, which would ensure that the Avengers only act with express permission from the United Nations. Following Scarlet Witch’s deadly accident in Nigeria — she moved an explosion too close to a building with her powers, which left dozens of innocent civilians dead — Wakanda’s T’Chaka (John Kani) voices his support for signing the Accords in a moving speech.
“Our people’s blood is spilled on foreign soil, not only because of the actions of criminals, but the indifference of those who pledged to stop them,” he says of the Avengers. “Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all.”
Image Source: Marvel
Later on, T’Chaka heads to the Vienna International Centre with his son to attend the official signing of the Sokovia Accords. After sharing a brief moment with Natasha Romanoff (aka Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow) where they discuss Captain America’s choice not to sign the agreement, T’Chaka tells T’Challa that he’s proud of him and all that he’s achieved. Then the Wakandan king takes the stage to give another rousing speech about how Ultron had been using stolen Vibranium from Wakanda and that his country will no longer sit idly by while such injustices go on.
Unfortunately, in the middle of his speech, a bomb goes off outside the window and causes the room they’re sitting in to explode. T’Challa attempts to rescue his father from the blast, but the explosion is too much. He crawls through the rubble and smoke to find T’Chaka and is finally seen cradling his father’s lifeless body in his arms.
Image Source: Marvel
At that point, T’Challa had already taken over for his father as the Black Panther. The only thing that was left to do was take up the title of King of Wakanda, which he accepts despite his obvious heartbreak. As we see in Civil War, T’Challa is able to get some closure after his father’s death when he finds and captures the man responsible. The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes is initially framed for the blast, and the Black Panther goes after him with all he’s got, but fortunately, the true culprit is eventually rooted out: Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), a Sokovian terrorist seeking revenge against the Avengers because of the deadly Battle of Sokovia.
In Black Panther, we’re able to see in more detail T’Challa work through the complicated emotions he has about T’Chaka’s death, as well as how he both preserves and changes the Wakandan legacy his family fought to protect for so long.