(Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for several comic-book story-lines, as well as potential – albeit entirely theoretical – ones for the forthcoming Black Panther solo movie. Proceed with whatever level of caution your cat-like reflexes suggest to you is wise…)
Now, we may only have spent a few minutes of screen-time with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, but , . As such, it seemed well past time to take a look at some of King T’Challa’s greatest foes – and at precisely how they could soon appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here, then, is…
Everything You Need To Know About The Black Panther’s 5 Greatest Villains
5. Ulysses Klaw
Better known in the MCU as the Andy Serkis-played Ulysses Klaue (or ‘that guy who looked a bit like Gollum and had his hand lopped off by Ultron’), Klaw is one of Black Panther’s toughest – and most ‘super-villain-y’ – enemies. The son of a Nazi war criminal, the comic-book Klaw grew up to be a physicist, but soon found himself stealing vibranium from Wakanda in order to power one of his designs: A ‘sound transducer’, capable of converting sound waves into physical mass. As part of the ensuing conflict, Klaw killed Black Panther’s father T’Chaka, but lost his hand in the process.
Years later, though, Klaw returned – with a sound tranducer where his hand used to be, and one hell of a grudge against the man who took it from him: T’Challa. Unfortunately for Wakanda’s king, however, he was also now able to transform himself into a deadly being of ‘living sound’ – a trick he would soon go on to use in numerous battles with Black Panther, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers. And, of course, Dazzler, who basically managed to dissolve him, before blasting him into space. Dazzler-related blasting (and origin story) aside, though, Klaw could make for an intriguing villain in Black Panther – not least because of his involvement in the origin story of the very next villain on this list:
4. Erik Killmonger
Actually one of Black Panther’s most recurring and genuinely threatening villains, Killmonger was actually born N’Jadaka, but changed it after his father was killed – having been drawn into a plot by Ulysses Klaw – and his family was exiled from Wakanda. Growing up with a burning hatred of both Klaw and the man who had exiled him – T’Challa himself – Killmonger soon proved himself to be a deeply intelligent (and bitterly vengeful) young man, with a degree from MIT and a heart full of rage to prove it.
He eventually persuaded T’Challa to repatriate him to Wakanda, and soon after staged a coup – one which, while unsuccessful, would prove to be the first of many attempts to overthrow T’Challa. In recent years, he even briefly succeeded, using his technologically advanced enclave within Wakanda to take over the kingdom economically, and ultimately besting T’Challa in a fight for the right to call himself the Black Panther. His time in power didn’t actually last long – and he was later killed in battle – but Killmonger remains one of the few foes to ever successfully defeat T’Challa, albeit temporarily. What’s more, his American upbringing and relative youth might just make him .
3. Reverend Achebe
According to rumor, Achebe was once an African farmer who – left for dead by rebel soldiers, and betrayed by his wife – sold his soul to Mephisto in exchange for vengeance. Which… may or may not be true (though Mephisto is certainly to be found hanging around the Marvel comic-book universe much of the time). What is certain, though, is that – after attending Yale Law School – he started an ethnic war in a country bordering Wakanda, and then infiltrated a refugee camp on the outskirts of T’Challa’s realm. From there, he stoked ethnic tensions, and eventually led an uprising against Black Panther’s rule – briefly becoming the country’s ruler in the process.
Which, predictably, ended poorly for the utterly insane Achebe – with T’Challa soon wresting back control of his country, forcing the would-be-king to flee. Which didn’t stop Achebe turning up once again a little later, and hiring Deadpool to kidnap Erik Killmonger’s pet leopard, Preyy as part of an elaborate and poorly-thought scheme that it’s best not to think too much about. If Marvel wanted a politically topical villain, though, a xenophobic, rabble-rousing despot like Achebe might well get the nod.
2. M’Baku (a.k.a. The Man-Ape)
While unlikely to be referred to by his more famous comic-book name (with Man-Ape being both a tough sell in marketing terms, and liable to be labeled offensive), M’Baku is nonetheless one of the more promising options for a solo movie villain. Having gained his powers after eating the flesh of a white gorilla (and bathing in its blood, of course), M’Baku became super-humanly strong, and more than a match physically for his old rival T’Challa. Which, since he – and his White Gorilla Cult – seek to return Wakanda to a simpler, technology-free time, has certainly made for an intriguing counterpoint to the technology-friendly leanings of Wakanda’s elite over the years.
Also, despite a lifetime of super-villainy, M’Baku was both invited to Black Panther’s wedding, and tried to pick a fight with Spider-Man while he was there. For all of us who’d love to see a teenage Spider-Man battling a giant guy in a white gorilla costume, then, M’Baku needs to make it into the MCU.
1. The White Wolf
T’Challa may be King T’Chaka’s most famous son, but he isn’t, perhaps, his most deadly. His adopted brother Hunter – whose own parents died in a plane crash on Wakandan soil – had grown up to be both a staunch Wakandan patriot, and the head of its widely-feared secret police, the Hatut Zeraze. Upon T’Challa’s ascension to the throne, however, he shut down the brutal police force – an act which essentially forced Hunter into exile, where he became both a successful mercenary leader, and the White Wolf.
While his actions in the years since often caused T’Challa significant problems – and often verged on the coup-like – Hunter remained a faithful servant of Wakanda (in his own way), and aided Black Panther in Wakanda’s defense on several occasions. In fact, if you were to ask him, the White Wolf would likely consider himself just as integral a part of the nation’s protection as the Panther. So, step-brothers driven apart by their differing approaches to defending their home, but forced together to protect it all the same? So far, so Marvel Studios. Could White Wolf be the role Michael B. Jordan was born to play in the MCU?
What do you reckon?
Who would you most like to see face off against Black Panther in his solo movie?2 Votes
Staff Writer, Superheroes, Star Wars and such. Bad jokes aplenty. Follow at @kitsb1