Black Panther is just weeks away from opening in theaters and the characters’ distinctive costume is being seen more and more frequently in Marvel Studios' promotional efforts for the film. But how exactly does Black Panther’s suit work?
Marvel Studios recently released the first clip from Black Panther. The scene shows Black Panther riding on top of a vehicle controlled remotely by his sister, Shuri. Those fleeing open fire on Black Panther, but the bullets seem to bounce off of Black Panther’s armor.
Shuri informs her brother that the bullets are actually charging up his suit by letting it absorb all of that kinetic energy. This calls back to how she explained the new version of the Black Panther costume, called the Panther Habit in the comics, to T’Challa.
"It is lighter, completely bulletproof and it absorbs energy for redistribution,” Shuri explained.
Panther leaps onto the hood of the fleeing vehicle and “redistributes” that energy in a way that causes the vehicle to flip back over front.
Black Panther isn’t a true superhuman. In the Marvel Comics universe, a special herb enhances his senses and physical abilities to an extent, but not to car tossing levels. So how does he do it then? Its all in the suit.
We don’t have too many details specifically about the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the Panther Habit, but we can make some assertions based on how the original comic book version of the costume works.
The Panther Habit, for all of its technological capabilities, is a traditional, ceremonial attire passed down from one chieftain of the Wakanda Panther Cult to another. In Wakandan history, the chieftain of the Panther cult became the ruler of Wakanda. It is only after the chieftain is judged worth by the Panther Goddess, Bast, that he may be presented with the traditional regalia.
Since vibranium is so vital to Wakandan advancement and central to their culture and society, it makes sense that the chieftain’s garb, ceremonial or practical, would make use of this precious and unique metal.
So it has been, and as the Wakandan people have continued to make scientific leaps and better understand the mysterious metal, so has the Panther Habit become more advanced and more capable of various superhuman feats.
This plays into the most significant thing about the Black Panther suit is that it is made with a vibranium micro-weave mesh. Vibranium's unique properties make Black Panther basically bulletproof.
The vibranium absorbs the momentum and energy oncoming projectiles, causing them to simply fall to the ground rather than ricochet in unpredictable directions.
In the case of Shuri’s MCU costume, it seems she’s managed to engineer a way for the suit to then house and redistribute that energy into some kind of energy pulse. This is what Black Panther uses to flip the car in movie clip.
The mesh is also incredibly durable, able to withstand even a punch from the Hulk. It is also as stab-proof as it is bulletproof, though a slash along the grain of the suit can still tear it.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve seen that the Panther suit has very sharp claws. In fact, they're sharp and strong enough to leave a mark on Captain America's shield.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, the Panther Habit’s claws aren’t just sharp, they are made from vibranium anti-metal.
This ant-metal is able to break down objects at a molecular level and can be fired as projectiles or turned into small blades for hand-to-hand combat.
Black Panther also has standalone energy daggers with hilts carved from ivory or stone. The blades can be shaped to appear as a knife, spear, scythe, or other weapons. They can also be launched as dart-like projectiles.
One important part of the Panther Habit in the comics are the boots. The Panther suit boots are equipped with energy-dampening technology.
This is what allows Black Panther to make such great leaps from building and other structures and land with cat-like gracefulness instead of breaking his bones. They’re even capable of allowing him to scale a building or to run on water if he goes into the act with enough momentum.
The boots can use that same technology to break a damaged object or, if T’Challa is positioned correctly, to drain the momentum out of a falling or a thrown object. Black Panther once pulled this off with a car that the Hulk threw at him.
Black Panther’s suit, both in the comics and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is able to manifest at will on T’Challa’s body. Shuri’s design allows the suit to emit onto T’Challa from the necklace he wears.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, this is accomplished using cloaking technology. The cloaking capabilities are controlled by T’Challa’s thoughts. In addition to switching T’Challa’s appearance from superhero to a political officer, it can also render the Black Panther completely invisible.
In the comics, the ability to switch back and forth between Panther suit and regular attire has shown to be quite useful when T’Challa is balancing his duties as head of state with his adventures as a superhero (though in many cases these are one and the same).
The Panther Habit comes equipped with hard-light shielding, which can be extended to protect innocents or Panther’s allies.
Lastly, and something that fans are unlikely to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Black Panther’s teleportation device. The exact limits of the Black Panther’s device are unknown, but he has used it to come and go as he pleases in the comics.
There’s no telling for sure exactly how many of the Panther Habit’s various abilities from the comics will make it into Black Panther, but its safe to say that director Ryan Coogler and company have plenty to work with.
Black Panther currently has a ComicBook.com User Anticipation Rating of 4.17 out of 5, making it the second most anticipated upcoming comic book movie among ComicBook.com Users. Let us know how excited you are for Black Panther by giving the movie your own ComicBook.com User Anticipation Rating below.
Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16th.
Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include; Avengers: Infinity War on May 4th, Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.