Opening day for Marvel’s “Black Panther” is right around the corner, but there’s still plenty of time to brush up on your comic book history.
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita N’yongo and a host of others, the Ryan Coogler-directed film follows Black Panther, or T’Challa, as he returns home to his African nation of Wakanda to reclaim his throne.
While the film, out Feb. 16, will reveal plenty about the superhero, there are a few facts worth noting before you head to the theaters.
Here are five things you should know.
The character predates the founding of the Black Panther Party.
While many often link the comic with the Black Panther movement, they were actually formed separately and at different times. The character was created in July of 1966 just before the Black Panther party was founded in October of the same year, according to History.com.
In 1972, the character’s name was temporarily changed to Black Leopard to avoid any association with the organization, according to an article by the Hollywood Reporter.
The character first appeared in Fantastic Four.
Black Panther made his debut in issue No. 52 of “Fantastic Four” in 1966, according to Marvel. He later appeared with Captain America in “Tales of Suspense.” He also showed up in “Daredevil” and “The Avengers.”
His storyline blossomed when he received his first starring feature with “Jungle Action” in July 1973. He continued to make cameos in print and has been spotted in animated films since 1994.
He is the first black superhero in American mainstream comic books.
Although you may be familiar with Luke Cage, Black Lightning and Falcon, Black Panther was the first black superhero, according to Marvel. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character is also known as T’Challa, the King of the African nation Wakanda. His home is very lavish and technologically advanced, and Black Panther’s powers include superhuman acute senses, strength, speed and healing.
He was once married to Storm.
T’Challa and Storm, also known as Ororo Munroe, fell in love as teenagers. They separated, but were later united and married in a huge Wakandan wedding in front of their friends and family. Shortly after the ceremony, they began traveling together on a diplomatic tour.
They were married for more than six years before it was annulled by the high priest of the Panther clan, according to ComicBook.com. He was upset with Storm for helping her X-Men instead of Wakanda while it was under attack.
Filmmakers began working on the action flick as early as 1992.
Wesley Snipes, who helped bring “Blade” to the big screen in the 1990s, was interested in portraying the character in 1992. The film went into development for four years, but Lee was reportedly unhappy with the script and put it on hold.
Through the years, filmmakers continued to toil with the script and shop for actors directors. John Singleton, Ava DuVernay, F. Gary Gray were all considered, but Ryan Coogler was officially announced as the director in 2016. Filming finally began January of 2017 in Atlanta.