The Marvel Cinematic Universe is built on the back of many outstanding movies. The franchise has continuously produced blockbuster movies that have succeeded critically and commercially. On the 16th of February, 2018, Marvel released Black Panther to the world with resounding success. The movie, which had a trail of both hype and doubt leading up to its release due to its predominantly black cast, was seen as a make or break opportunity for the studio to diversify its storytelling.
Black Panther was expected to be more than just a movie and when it graced theater screens worldwide, it proved just that. Though critical and box office success is synonymous with the Marvel franchise, Black Panther took it to a whole new level – it became a cultural movement.
The reception of the movie was nothing short of phenomenal and it quickly rose to break several movie records, ending its theatrical run as the highest grossing solo superhero film and one of the top ten highest grossing movies of all time.
The story of Black Panther is a story of self-realization. It tells the story of a man’s journey to learning about his heritage and determining what kind of person he wants to be. It tells the story of Wakanda, a fictional African country with Vibranium, a fictional rare and precious metal gotten from a meteorite that landed in the country thousands of years ago.
The country comprises of five tribes, led by a warrior that ingests a heart-shaped herb that gives anyone who drinks it superhuman abilities. Wakanda had used the Vibranium metal and its many derivatives to advance themselves technologically and isolate themselves from the rest of the world.
T’Challa, who was the present day leader of the Wakanda people in the movie, had recently lost his father to a bomb blast. He learns of the crime of his father after encountering an unidentified Wakandan during a mission to recover stolen Vibranium from Ulysses Kalue.
He is forced to fight to keep his throne as the leader of the Wakandan people and determine if he wants to make the mistakes of his father or do better. During his journey, he is supported by his love interest and Wakandan spy – Nakia, his sister – Shuri and his mother – Ramonda. He’s forced to make alliances with his rivals and grow a more inclusive Wakanda.
Black Panther Cast
Black Panther features a predominantly black cast. The movie stars established actors and newcomers alike. Some of the notable characters in the movie include T’Challa, Erik Killmonger, Nakia, Okoye, W’kabi, Shuri, Everett Ross, Zuri, Ulysses Klaue. Here is a look at the characters and the actors that played them.
T’Challa/Black Panther – Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa in Black Panther. Chadwick who first played the role in Captain America: Civil War, delivered an admirable performance as the leader of the fictional country. He is believed to have signed a five movie contract with Marvel Studios. For the role, Chadwick Boseman said he studied prominent African personalities like Nelson Mandela and Fela Kuti. He also traveled to South Africa twice, where the fictional country’s accent is based upon.
Erick Killmonger – Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan, who has landed several famous movie roles prior to Black Panther, plays the villain in this epic story. The actor, whose character’s motivations are considered extreme but understandable prepared for the role by working with his team from the movie Creed.
Nakia – Lupita Nyongo’o
Lupita is one of the few actors in the movie with pure African roots. Nakia plays an undercover spy and the love interest of T’Challa. For the film, the actress learned Hausa and trained in martial arts. She’s signed on to appear in other Black Panther movies.
Okoye – Danai Gurira
Danai Gurira plays Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, an all-female special forces team and T’Challa’s security detail. Although she has an action background as Michonne in The Walking Dead, the director of Black Panther, Ryan Coogler says she was cast due to her performance in Mother of George.
Ramonda – Angela Bassett
The veteran actress, Angela Bassett plays Ramonda, the widow of T’Chaka and T’Challa’s mother. She serves as an advisor to the young king and helps him during the coup from Erik Killmonger.
Some of the other cast members include Winston Duke who plays M’Baku, Forest Whittaker who plays Zuri, Martin Freeman plays Everett K. Ross, Daniel Kaluuya plays W’Kabi and Andy Serkis who plays Ulysses Klaue. Newcomer Letitia Wright played Shuri and is scheduled to appear in other movies in the franchise.
Salaries Of The Cast Members
Marvel Studios is not exactly the most frugal of movie studios, however, it’s been known to pay average to small salaries for the first movie in its new franchises. Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans got relatively small salaries for the first films in their respective franchises, before the success of their movies earned them big paydays in subsequent movies.
The same is the case for the cast of Black Panther. Only the two lead actors, Chadwick Boseman and Michael Jordan, have their salaries for the movie as public information, with both earning $3 million and $1 million respectively. The salaries for the rest of the cast is not known, but it is expected that the two veterans, Forest Whittaker and Angela Bassett were paid handsomely due to their pedigree in the industry.
Where Are The Cast Members Now?
Chadwick Boseman is expected to appear in Avengers 4 and he’s currently working on 17 Bridges. Michael B. Jordan is currently working on a sequel to his hit movie, Creed. Lupita Nyong’o has starred in other popular projects such as Star Wars and she’s due for another appearance in the mega-franchise in 2019.
Danai Gurira is currently playing Michonne in The Walking Dead; she is also currently writing the script for the miniseries adaptation of Americanah, based on a novel written by the Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie. Angela Bassett’s latest project is a voice role in Bumblebee and she’s scheduled to appear in a movie, Otherhood in 2019.
Forest Whittaker is set to star in Finding Steve McQueen and City of Lies, while Winston Duke is set to appear in Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated directorial sophomore project Us, Avengers 4 and Wonderland. Speaking of highly anticipated projects, Daniel Kaluuya will next be seen on the big screen appearing in Widows, one of 2018’s most anticipated movies.