After debuting the first poster for Black Panther, Marvel released the first teaser trailer for the film, which is still nine months away from hitting theaters. The movie opens on February 16, 2018, but the studio got a jump on promoting it with a trailer during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Now, it’s time to meet the cast bringing these characters to life.
Black Panther is highly anticipated for a number of reasons. It’s just the third film from acclaimed 31-year-old director Ryan Coogler, who has hit home runs with his small indie debut Fruitvale Station and his shockingly great Rocky movie Creed. It’s also the first Marvel movie with a predominately African-American cast.
In addition, the film is the first one to star the first black superhero in American comics. Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and made his debut in the July 1966 issue of Fantastic Four. (DC Comics’ first black superhero, the Green Lantern John Stewart, wouldn’t debut until 1971.)
Now, let’s meet the cast of the upcoming movie.
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman debuted as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War. In that film, his father, T’Chaka, died, so T’Challa has become king of Wakanda, a fictional African nation. In December 2014, it was reported that Boseman signed on to appear in five Marvel movies.
Outside of the Marvel films, Boseman has picked up a knack for starring in biopics. He played Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up. Later this year, he’ll be seen as the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. In 2016, he starred in Message From The King.
Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger
If Coogler is directing, there’s a good chance that Michael B. Jordan isn’t far behind. Jordan has starred in both Fruitvale Station and Creed. Black Panther gives him a chance to rehabilitate his career after Fantastic Four flopped. He stars as Erik Killmonger, an exile who hopes to overthrow T’Challa.
Jordan and Coogle plan on working together for a fourth time on Wrong Answer, Variety reported. That film will be baed on a 2006 standardized test cheating scandal in Atlanta. It will be written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who currently writes Marvel’s Black Panther comics.
Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia
Lupita Nyong’o plays T’Challa’s love interest, Nakia, who is a member of the Dora Milage. Nyong’o won an Oscar for her supporting role in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave.
She has worked with Disney four times already. She starred as Maz Katana in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. She voiced Raksha in The Jungle Book and played Nakku Harriet in Queen of Katwe. In fact, she hasn’t made a non-Disney film since she appeared in 2014’s Non-Stop.
Danai Gurira as Okoye
Dannai Gurira stars as Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, a group of women who serve as bodyguards for Wakanda’s royal family. Gurira is best known for playing Michonne, on The Walking Dead, but that wasn’t the role that got her this job. Coogler was more impressed with her role in Mother of George.
“It’s quite amazing to hear, but these are African women roles,” Gurira told ComicBook.com. “He’d watched me in a more independent film called Mother of George. He’s never seen The Walking Dead.”
Angela Bassett as Ramonda
Angela Bassett stars as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother. In a recent interview with People Magazine, Bassett’s trailer, Corey Calliet, praised Oscar nominee’s dedication.
“She’s very attentive and takes the knowledge that she needs from me to be able to utilize it,” Calliet told People. “She loves fitness, she loves to work out. She wants to do it and she doesn’t quit. We were going hard and she would not stop. That’s what I like about her— at her age, she still has it in her to make her want her go more.”
Bassett has an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win for 1993’s What’s Love Got To Do With It. She’s also been nominated for Emmys for her roles in American Horror Story and The Rose Parks Story. She was recently seen in an episode of Master of None.
Forest Whitaker as Zuri
Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker stars in Black Panther as Zuri, an elder statesman in Wakanda who offers advise to T’Challa. The character has played a big role in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ current Black Panther run. Whitaker worked with Disney last year on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Whitaker has an Oscar for his performance in 2006’s The Last King of Scotland.
The Rest of the Cast
Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, member of the Joint Counter Terrorism Center
Daniel Kaluuya as Wakabi
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
Florence Kasumba as Ayo
John Kani as T’Chaka
Winston Duke as M’Baku/Man-Ape
Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu
Letitia Wright as Shuri
Brown told The Undefeated that Phylicia Rashad is in the movie, but her role hasn’t been revealed yet.