There is no denying the beauty of the costumes and people of Black Panther. In this gallery of portraits by photographer Kwaku Alston, created exclusively for EW’s Comic-Con preview, the king and protector of Wakanda reigns supreme. Chadwick Boseman is photographed in T’Challa’s obsidian-colored, Vibranium-woven armor as the hero of this Marvel Studios movie.
In the comics, Erik Killmonger is an exiled dissident from Wakanda who believes T’Challa will be too weak a ruler. “Something we felt was important was that Wakanda wasn’t treated monolithically, meaning everybody agreed to do the same thing all the time,” executive producer Nate Moore says. “Wakanda has a lot of citizens who have a lot of different ideas of Wakanda should be. Killmonger is a voice of a different side of Wakanda.”
Lupita on her character, Nakia: “I would say Nakia is very practical. She dresses for the job at hand, but she doesn’t compromise her style.”
“Danai Gurira is going to steal every scene that she’s in is the head of the Dora Milaje, the all-female secret service to T’Challa,” says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Here, The Walking Dead actress is seen in Okoye’s ornate uniform as part of the order, created by costume designer Ruth E. Carter.
Letitia plays Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, “who crafts weapons like the Vibranium-enhanced panther gauntlets on her hands.” “She is also a genius and runs the entire Wakandan design group,” Feige says. “She’s responsible for amazing technological advances that Vibranium has brought about from Wakanda.”
The stunning Angela Bassett plays Ramonda, Wakanda’s queen mother, as vital to T’Challa and Shuri now as when they were children. “Her goal in the film is to help T’Challa become king of Wakanda in a peaceful transition of power, serving as a de facto advisor to the throne,” executive producer Nate Moore says. “However, as things get complicated for our hero, she sets aside any political functions and instead operates as a mother whose sole concern is the physical well-being of both of her children.”
Winston Duke plays M’Baku, ” plays another leading figure in Wakanda who poses a threat to T’Challa.” What the panther is to the royal family, the gorilla is to M’Baku’s mountain tribe. “The idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own rights,” executive producer Nate Moore said. “We don’t call him Man-Ape,” producer Nate Moore confirms in an interview. with EW. “We do call him M’Baku. Having a black character dress up as an ape, I think there’s a lot of racial implications that don’t sit well, if done wrong. But the idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own right.”
Daniel plays W’Kabi, T’Challa’s best friend and head of the security security for the Border Tribe. “They live on the borders of Wakanda and serve as the first line of defense for the country. As T’Challa ascends to the throne, he asks W’Kabi to serve as an advisor, trusting his friends knowledge and instincts,” says executive producer Nate Moore.
“He’s somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure,” director Ryan Coogler says of Forest Whitaker’s shaman character, Zuri. “Forest’s character, more than anything, is a major tie-back to T’Challa’s father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance.” Coogler says to think of him as the Wise Old Man — Black Panther’s version of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther follows T’Challa (Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and Black Panther — is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
Stars Chadwick Boseman (Captain America: Civil War) as T’Challa/Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) as Erik Killmonger, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) as Okoye, Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Nakia, Angela Bassett (Green Lantern) as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother, and Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Zuri. It also includes Daniel Kaluuya (Black Mirror) as W’Kabi, Winston Duke (Person of Interest) as M’Baku, Florence Kasumba (Captain America: Civil War) as Ayo, Letitia Wright (Doctor Who) as Serita, and Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson) as N’Jobu.
‘Black Panther’ slashes into theaters on February 16, 2018.