Black Panther was released this past weekend after weeks of hype as the “Best Marvel Movie Ever” and lived up to that hype both critically, from what the audiences thought and in terms of the box office (coming in as the second biggest Marvel movie opening at the North American Box Office with over $201 million dollars). While the movie was mostly removed from the rest of the MCU in terms of the people in it, which makes sense as Wakanda is mostly removed from the rest of the world (at least at the start of the movie), the film was still rife with easter eggs for comic book/MCU heads who paid close attention to the movie and the other MCU films or comic books. So, let’s take a look at the top 20 Easter Eggs from Marvel’s new superstar, Black Panther and his first movie ever! Part two!
10. The Public Enemy Connection
Black Panther Writer/Director Ryan Coogler is from Oakland, California and he makes his hometown known in his biggest film yet as Oakland plays a big role in the start and the conclusion of his masterpiece. Beyond that, though, is the role that hip hop greats Public Enemy play in the background of the movie. The pivotal scene between T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, as he kills his brother before his brother can kill him, happens in 1992, the heyday of Public Enemy’s heavily politicized rap. While there isn’t any overt references to Public Enemy, you can see their influence beyond just the poster that hangs on the wall in the background of that scene. Public Enemy and groups like them co-opted the original Black Panther party in their rhymes and even stage performances, where their back-up dancers rocked the “uniforms” of the 60’s pro-black party. Black Panther does a great job of discussing the history of not only Africa (where Wakanda is located) but also Africans in other countries and the role that a prosperous African nation should have in liberating their own people who were taken from Africa against their will. While it influences the plot but doesn’t overwhelm it, it feeds these issues to the masses in a way that no film really has done before, at least not major blockbuster has.
9. Young T’Chaka
In the above mentioned scene, which really is responsible for putting Black Panther’s plot in motion, offers a view into the thoughts and beliefs of T’Challa’s Father, T’Chaka as he battled with strife within his own family. Because we only got about 30 seconds with T’Chaka before he was assassinated in Captain America: Civil War, it was a great opportunity and sneaky way to expand upon a character that was technically dead before the start of Black Panther (as it began about a week after the events of Civil War). In doing so, Black Panther had to enlist a younger actor to portray T’Chaka, and they decided to stay within the family of the actor who portrays the older T’Chaka, South African actor John Kani. The actor that portrayed the young T’Chaka is actually the son of John Kani, Atandwa Kani, and that’s not the only strange thing about the younger versions of the characters in the films. The actor that played the younger version of Forest Whitaker’s Zuri is played by Denzel Whitaker. He’s not the son of Forest, but he actually played that role in the film The Great Debaters. Small world.
8. Bucky… the White Wolf?
During the events of Black Panther, T’Challa’s sister/tech-genius Shuri is tasked with saved the life of Martin Freeman’s Agent Ross. There’s a quick comment that some may have missed as a joke, however, it was a pretty big connection to the rest of the MCU. Shuri refers to Ross as “another white boy” to fix, which means she must’ve fixed another white boy recently. MCU-heads know that that other white boy is none other than The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, who is in Wakanda during the events of Black Panther as he elected to enter back into cryo-genic suspended animation until someone could fix his scrambled brains (thanks to HYDRA). The post credit scene was the pay-off for this comment, as Shuri is seen alongside Barnes, who thanks her for fixing his brains. Some children run up and refer to Barnes as “The White Wolf”, which is a big reveal that may be a huge indicator of Barne’s future in the MCU. The White Wolf is a character in the comics that Black Panther fans should be aware of, as he ends up as T’Chall’s most trusted soldier and friend. So, perhaps Bucky won’t end up as Captain America, after all?
7. All of My Children
Day time soap operas may not be the day-time mainstay that they used to be, which may delight sick children all across the United States and Canada who typically dreaded the end of The Price is Right, but some still exist and still are great starting points for young actors. One of the Soap Operas that existed seemingly forever was All of My Children, that was on broadcast television for over 40 years and still might exist somewhere out there in the ether. Two cast members of Black Panther got their starts on All of My Children, and they just so happen to be the most important characters in the film. Both Black Panther himself Chadwick Boseman and his cousin/mortal enemy Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) got their first acting gig on All of My Children, even stranger than that they both portayed the same character on the show! After only one episode as the character ‘Reggie Montgomery’, Boseman left for greener pastures and the gig was picked up full-time by Michael B. Jordan, who probably died/ended up in a coma/cheated on someone or turned out to be a robot, or something.
6. That Whole Killmonger Thing
Because Marvel Comics were written in a time when people weren’t as sensitive to racial issues, Marvel Studios has to balance those issues with the fact that a lot of fans get upset when they stray too far from the source material. A good example of this is how they handled The Ancient One in the Doctor Strange movie, as the character in the comics is a textbook stereotype of an Asian man. They elected to avoid that alltogether by casting a white woman, Tilda Swinton, as The Ancient One (which caused a different set of problems). That same issue obviously extended into Black Panther, a comic created by white men about a fictitional African country. One way that the African American creators of the Black Panther film attempted to create that balance, for example, was with the character of Man-Ape, who retained all of the aesthetics of Man-Ape (and his backstory) without utilizing that name. Erik Killmonger was another iffy character who was obviously too integral to Black Panthers story and origins to avoid. The film did a great job with Michael B. Jordan’s character by naming him Erik Stevens, and giving him the nickname of Killmonger thanks to all the people he’d killed (which was apparent by all the tattoos/brands on his body (“One for each kill”)).
5. Maybe Bucky Will be Captain America, After All?
Because of the comic books history, people have surmised that The Winter Soldier himself, Bucky Barnes, will at some point carry the mantle of Captain America after original Avenger, Steve Rogers (The “First Avenger” himself) either retires, is no longer fighting for the American government or dies. Considering the fact that Steve Rogers is played by Chris Evans, whose contract with Marvel Studios is up after next years yet to be mentioned Avengers 4, people have pointed at Bucky Barnes to be the next “Captain America” (Either him or Falcon, that is). While Bucky Barnes didn’t appear in the proper Black Panther film, he was referenced during the film by Shuri (“another white boy to fix”) and did show up in the post-credit scene with Shuri. In that scene he was referred to as the “White Wolf” by some children, while he was rocking red, white and blue. It’s the sort of mixed signals that Marvel loves to send, as Bucky could either end up fighting in Wakanda alongside T’Challa as the White Wolf or could end up carrying the vibranium shield of Captain America after 2019. Your guess is as good as mine.
4. Human Torches, Everywhere!
Considering that superhero movies dominate the box office these days, it shouldn’t be a coincidence that some actors end up portraying characters in either Marvel Studios, Sony’s Spider-Man films, Fox’s X-Men/Deadpool universe and/or the DC Extended Universe. However, there’s a coincidence that you have to note while watching Black Panther, a film in which Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther battles Michael B. Jordan’s Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. Black Panther was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War, Captain America is portrayed by Chris Evans, who played the Human Torch in the first (or second, depending…) Fantastic Four films. Michael B. Jordan also portrayed the Human Torch in the disastrous Fantastic Four reboot, which means that T’Challa/Boseman was introduced in a film about (and fought) a former Human Torch and then battled.. A former Human Torch in his first solo film. Yet another “coincidence” in the MCU!
3. “Every Breath You Take…”
While he’s not in the film for very long, Ulysses Klaue did play a huge role in not only the plot of the film but also the history of Wakanda. Introduced way back during Avengers: Age of Ultron, Klaue has a brand on his neck in Wakandan that spells out “Thief”. He stole a bunch of vibranium from the country with the help of Black Panther’s Uncle, which started a series of events that lead to the conclusion of the Black Panther film. Because of that (and the death of T’Challa’s uncle at the hands of his father, T’Chaka), Klaue was essentially public enemy number one in Wakanda. When T’Challa finally captures Klaue and is about to kill him, he realizes that the eyes of the world are on him (and thus Wakanda) and decides to not kill Klaue, despite Klaue’s taunts. He does, however, tell Klaue that everything breath he takes [from that point forward], is mercy from him. Black Panther comic fans may recognize that super bad ass line as it was what T’Challa uttered to his other mortal enemy, Namor, from the comic book New Avengers (#22).
2. Everett Ross is the Connection
Before the first Avengers film in 2012, there was one person that connected all the “origin” films like Thor, the first two Iron Man films and even Captain America in Agent Coulson. Coulson “died” during that first Avengers film and his death was the impetus needed for the members of the Avengers to stop fighting and start focusing on the problem at hand. Because Coulson was brought back to life for the television show Agents of SHIELD, he’s not really available to bind the new Avengers characters films together. Enter Everett Ross, who first popped up as a CIA agent in Captain America: Civil War and had a huge role to play in Black Panther. There’s a line that seemed like a throw-away during his recovery at the hand’s of Shuri, that he was formerly a pilot in the Air Force. Considering his age, he would’ve been flying during the late 90’s, which is the era that 2019’s Captain Marvel will be set. That means that he could be the connective tissue between the new Avengers in Black Panther, Captain Marvel and even people like Winter Soldier, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Hopefully he’ll also have some time to stop by the members of Agents of SHIELD, even though they’re stuck in space… In the future.
1. A Doctor Strange Reference?
Those who have seen Doctor Strange will remember that the Earth is protected by Sanctum Sanctorums in three different cities (that happen to be the strongholds of mystical energy on the planet), those three cities were New York, London and Hong Kong, with the end of the Doctor Strange movie placing Steven Strange as the leader of the New York Sanctum. The “Back-to-Back” Avengers films of this and next summer are being branded as the end of everything that we’ve known thus far and appear to be promoting the new Avengers characters as the replacements for the original Avengers (and the actors that portray them, whose contracts are all coincidentally ending after next year’s Avengers 4). Beyond Dr. Strange, clearly Black Panther will have a major role in the future of the MCU, in Phase 4 and beyond and that fact isn’t lost on the people creating these films (obviously). During the climax of the film, Killmonger is speaking to the people that he has stationed around the world who are supposed to use the new vibranium weapons to overtake the world and institute justice (as Killmonger sees it). Three cities seem more apt to actually go through with that plan than others and they happen to be the “War Dogs” in New York, London and … You guessed it, Hong Kong. While that could just be a coincidence (or a terrible idea, considering who is located in those locales who could fight back), but most likely it’s a wink and a nod from Ryan Coogler, who knocked this film out of the park!