T’Challa may be the ruler of Wakanda in Black Panther, but he’s hardly the only leader in the African nation.
The Wakandan nation is made up of several tribes, each with its own tribal leader. Winston Duke plays on of those leaders, M’Baku, in Black Panther
“Well, M’Baku is the charismatic young leader of the Jabari tribe,” Duke tells ComicBook.com at Comic-Con International: San Diego, “and the Jabari tribe is one of Wakanda’s main tribes. They’ve removed themselves from the mainstream Wakandan society and they don’t really believe in the importance of vibranium to the movement of the country forwards That puts them at odds with how the country is ruled and everyone else, for the most part.”
M’Baku and his tribe haven’t been very pleased with the direction that its leaders have taken the nation in recently.
“M’Baku and the Jabari didn’t believe in the direction that T’Chaka was pushing the country and T’Challa is a continuation of that same plan and idea and worldview,” he says. “So that immediately puts him at odds.”
In the Marvel Comics universe, the Jabari worship the White Gorilla, a sacred animal spirit similar to the Panther God that is worshiped by the Wakandan mainstream. Worship of the White Gorilla is outlawed, but M’Baku takes it to an entirely new level when he hunts and kills a rare white gorilla and then eats its flesh and baths in its blood. The ritual mystically transforms M’Baku into the villain known as Man-Ape. Could we see that transformation in Black Panther?
“I think you’re going to have to wait and see...” Duke teased.
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Marvel Studios’ Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.
Black Panther is directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole. Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.
Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16, 2018.