The first trailer for Ryan Coogler’s upcoming Black Panther looked every bit as epic as anyone could have imagined. What’s more is that while it’s a Marvel Studios film, it seems clear, even from 2 minutes of footage, that it’s also a Ryan Coogler film. Much like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnaork, Black Panther seems to continue to the trend of Marvel Studios allowing more and more of the visions of some of the talented directors they have to be on display. The trailer gave us a lot to digest and we have been breaking down some of the more interesting things we noticed.
One such thing was our first look at M’Baku, the Jabari tribe and the presence of the Queen Mother, Ramonda in their mountain lands. We don’t know why she’s there, but we can see that she’s accompanied by her daughter, Shuri, Nakia and Everett Ross. If we had to guess, we’d say the group has gone as some sort of political envoy, perhaps to ask the Jabari tribe for their support against some looming threats.
While Wakanda is not a vast nation, it is comprised of different tribes who inhabit different locations. Since the time of Bashenga, the tribes have been united under one ruler, the Black Panther, a warrior-king. The events of Captain America: Civil War established T’Challa as the new Black Panther of Wakanda, following the death of his father, T’Chaka, but given the circumstances, it’s likely that not everyone back home will accept the new king’s rule. While the trailer is mostly focused on Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, it also gives us a brief glimpse of M’Baku, the leader of the Jabari people, and someone who is likely to challenge T’Challa for the throne.
M’Baku, played by Winston Duke, is based on one of T’Challa’s greatest adversaries from the comics. A fierce warrior, second only to T’Challa, M’Baku ruled over the Jabari tribe, who worshiped the Wakandan Ape god instead of the Panther god. In an attempt to overthrow T’Challa, M’Baku, called the Man-Ape in the comics, killed one of the rare Wakandan white gorillas, ate its flesh and became imbued with its legendary strength. He challenged T’Challa to the throne, defeating him before being crushed by a giant statue while attempting to kill T’Challa.
While the story is likely to be adapted to some extent, we imagine that part of what M’Baku will bring to the table is an internal threat to T’Challa while Killmonger will represent an external one. Duke is certainly a massive man, standing over six and a half feet tall, and the trailer shows several of his tribesman who also appear to be equally as big. We won’t be surprised to see M’Baku and T’Challa battle for the right to the throne of Wakanda at some point during the film. After that, would M’Baku be amenable to helping T’Challa fight off invading forces? It’s an interesting thought, but one that’s worth the brain power. If M’Baku doesn’t accept T’Challa’s rule, one would think he wouldn’t take kindly to Killmonger coming from nowhere to rule either.