Early predictions are estimating that this week’s release of Black Panther could break records for a solo superhero film, making it one of the most highly-anticipated films of the year. Many have wondered why it’s taken Marvel Studios so long to finally bring T’Challa to life, yet Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige shared that he’s been planting seeds for Black Panther‘s debut starting all the way back in Iron Man 2.
“We always knew we wanted to do it someday. We always knew it was the manifest destiny of Marvel Studios to bring to life all facets of the Marvel universe,” Feige told Variety. “At the end of Iron Man 2, when Nick Fury is discussing for the first time the Avengers initiative with Tony Stark, he’s brought him to this secret shield warehouse. One of the maps prominently displayed is a map of Africa with a little pinpoint to where Wakanda is. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we talked about Vibranium for the first time and Bruce Banner mispronounces Wakanda. We’ve been feeding it through the films, knowing if we had the opportunity to keep making films, Panther was high on the list. It was his inclusion in [Captain America:] Civil War that sped it up.”
All superhero films, whether they’re produced by Marvel Studios or another studio, whether they’re Marvel or DC, include Easter egg references that only devout fans will pick up. Many assumed the references Feige mentioned were nothing more than nods to fans of the series, yet by planting those various seeds, the studio is able to further explore the references fans seem most excited by.
T’Challa’s neutrality in Civil War ended up being a massive factor in finally bringing him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Feige claiming there was never any other option to play the part than Chadwick Boseman.
“The minute we started talking about Black Panther, we brought up Chadwick,” Feige admitted. “He really was the only actor we discussed. We had seen the Jackie Robinson role [in 42] and Get On Up was coming up. We were very impressed by how different James Brown and Jackie Robinson are, and how he could sort of do anything. I think it was 24 hours between saying his name in a creative story meeting and talking to his agent and getting on a phone with him and offering him the role of Black Panther, which he accepted.”
Fans can see Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa when Black Panther hits theaters this Friday.