While Chadwick Boseman will make his debut as Black Panther/T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War on May 6th, news about his own solo film is still mostly speculation. We’ve got the star and a release date (February 16th, 2018) right in the middle of Black History Month, a smart move by Marvel highlighting the character’s unique place in comic lore. But as for co-stars and crew, we’ve only heard rumors.

We may see Ernie Hudson play the role of T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father and the previous King of Wakanda and Black Panther. And it seems like a fairly sure thing that Ryan Coogler will be directing. But with the release date so far in the future, we’ll probably have to wait a bit longer for any concrete news as filming isn’t likely to start until 2017.

Nevertheless, with Panther’s live action debut mere months away, Kevin Feige did speak a bit about the character and his upcoming film in the latest issue of Empire.

“This one is important,” said Feige. “Not only do you get an unbelievable lead character, but you also get all of Wakanda which is a whole new setting and culture to explore.”

After confirming that the cast of the film will be predominantly African-American, Feige went on to discuss the themes of the film and how it will position Black Panther in the evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“It’s a big geo-political action adventure that focuses on the family and royal struggle of T’Challa in Wakanda, and what is means to be a king. T’Challa’s story is very important to us as it links to the next Avengers films, which is why we brought it forward.”

The “next Avengers films” Feige is referring to are of course the two parts of Avengers: Infinity War which will release on May 4th, 2018 and May 3rd, 2019, respectively. That means Black Panther will be the direct MCU lead-in to the first part of what’s sure to be one of the most epic blockbusters of all time. With Feige’s comments on moving up the film (from its original July 6th, 2018 release date, putting it after Infinity War), it seems that Black Panther and Wakanda will play a large role in the future of the MCU. This could mean everything from a spot on a post-Infinity War Avengers or the inclusion of an Infinity Stone (possibly the final one to be discovered) in his film.

As 2018 gets closer, we should learn a lot more but let us know in the comments how you think Black Panther will shape the MCU. Captain America: Civil War is out May 6th and Black Panther will release February 16th, 2018.

Source: Comic Book Movie