This morning brought us the Black Panther trailer of all our dreams. And while there weren’t a ton of new plot points revealed, there are a handful of important reveals that we were dying to examine closely. So we did!
As always, we’re going to be basing this mostly on speculation and rumor, but if you’re avoiding all that:
This shot shows M’Baku/Man-Ape (Winston Duke) in a throne room atop a mountain, which would be very in-keeping with how the White Gorilla Cult has been presented in the comics. Moreover, we saw Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) in winter wear, surrounded. This might be where they end up—facing M’Baku.
“I have seen gods fly. I have seen men build weapons that I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve seen aliens drop from the sky. But I have never seen anything like this,” says Ross. Then there’s a cut to him asking T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), “What else are you hiding?” It appears to be either during Everett’s interrogation of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), which served to explain Wakanda in the teaser trailer, or right after Klaue gets rescued.
One thing this trailer does a lot of—which makes me wonder if the studio was waiting to get the effects just right before releasing it—is show just how much more advanced Wakanda is than the rest of civilization. This shot of what are basically spaceships is the first glimpse; it’s our first good look at the Royal Talon Fighter, T’Challa’s personal shuttle.
In addition to showing how Okoye (Danai Gurira), a member of the Dora Milaje, flies the ship with just her hands, this also gives us a closer look at the barrier that keeps outsiders from realizing that Wakanda is way more than they present to the rest of the world.
Shots like this do a lot to create a sense of Wakanda as a real place that happens to have amazing technology, rather than some weirdly clean, bland, CG futurescape. Also, this isn’t too far off from the concept art included on the Doctor Strange digital release.
We haven’t seen a ton of Ramonda, the widowed Queen Mother, so far—just a brief shot of her with others in the throne room and, in what I assume is a scene from much later in the film, out on a snowy mountain. “My son, it is your time,” she says here. Outside of showing off Wakanda and Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), the big theme of this trailer is T’Challa learning what kind of king he is going to be.
We’ve seen a bunch of different shots of T’Challa fighting at Warrior Falls before, and we’ve been told this is T’Challa ascending to his kingship after the events of Civil War.
If you freeze it, you can see that the mask of the person T’Challa’s fighting looks like it could be a match for the White Gorilla Cult that M’Baku leads.
Nakia: “You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be.” In case the theme wasn’t clear yet.
Shuri is supposed to be a brilliant scientist—we’ve seen her with technology ready to fight before, but now we see her in the lab. Also, she and her brother have a great dynamic.
I guess she’s also made him a new Black Panther suit.
“Don’t freeze,” says Okoye.
“I never freeze,” answers T’Challa. Now, if you pause it when he’s standing there, you can see that it’s the chevron version of the Black Panther suit, which is the older one and not Shuri’s new model. That presumably means this is either early in the movie, or a flashback.
The disks T’Challa throws latch onto cars that look similar to the ones in the jungle fight we saw earlier—Klaue and Killmonger stealing from Wakanda, perhaps? And if so, this could be a flashback to Klaue losing his hand, like in comic book canon.
The last trailer didn’t directly show that Killmonger was the person in the lion mask who breaks Klaue out, even though we knew it was him. Now we see him directly.
The Heart-Shaped Herb is part of what gives the Black Panther his powers, so this communion with his ancestors and maybe the Panther god could be what happens after he takes the herb, which we saw prepared in the teaser.
T’Challa chases down Klaue in Korea, and you can see how the suit comes from nowhere to envelope him.
In the comics, Killmonger’s gone to various lengths to acquire Heart-Shaped Herb-based powers, including making a synthetic version after the real thing almost killed him. If he succeeds in this movie, I wonder if, like T’Challa’s peaceful Panther vision, this burning one is what Killmonger sees.
We saw Klaue rob this museum before, but now we see for sure that Killmonger joins him.
It feels like this theft is the event that puts the rest of the movie in motion. It’s what brings T’Challa out to chase them down and puts him into contact with Ross again.
At some point, it’s clear that Killmonger manages to get enough people behind him to fight T’Challa, and eventually they blow him out of the sky. The rest of T’Challa’s supporters have to fight their way out of the capital, and end up in M’Baku’s realm.
We saw the bit with T’Challa walking over to Killmonger before, but now we see the wreckage of the dogfight in the air that he escaped.
And now the big reveal of what Killmonger’s been up to:
His own suit, his own powers. We saw Killmonger and his people fighting Shuri and Nakia in the last trailer—he could have been fighting his way to her lab to get a suit.
The fact that T’Challa and Killmonger’s Black Panther suits glow different colors is really helpful, because it’s hard to figure out who’s who from far away.
The lettering seems to indicate this fight is happening in Wakanda—possibly the big final showdown. The blue in the background makes me think it’s in the mountain under M’Baku’s throne room from the beginning of the movie. A vibranium mine, maybe?
More fighting and falling.
A closer look at the gold panther suit. Also compare the blue in the ring Nakia’s holding to...
...the blue in Klaue’s arm cannon.
In the comics, Klaue has always had a mechanical arm replacement that doubles as a weapon. We had been told Klaue would have a bit of Wakandan mining tech on his arm in this movie, so now we can finally see it in action in this chase.
And a final reminder at just how good T’Challa is.
It looks like Black Panther will cover T’Challa becoming king, Killmonger’s resentment over that, Killmonger and Klaue stealing from Wakanda, T’Challa trying to stop them, Killmonger at least temporarily driving the royal family out of the capital, and T’Challa proving himself as king by defeating Killmonger. I’d even hazard a guess that T’Challa works with M’Baku at some point against Killmonger, as part of him learning to be a leader.