Cast Catch Up: 'Black Panther'
Marvel Studios' Black Panther boasts a stacked cast that includes pedigree acting veterans and hot [...]
Marvel Studios' Black Panther boasts a stacked cast that includes pedigree acting veterans and hot up-and-comers alike, making for one of the all-time finest Marvel casts.
Stars of the highly-anticipated blockbuster will assemble for tonight's star-studded Black Panther red carpet premiere live from Hollywood to debut what is already tracking to be another massive Marvel moneymaker, and several cast members are scheduled to visit Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week to help promote the production.
Much of Black Panther's expansive cast are franchise newcomers — save for T'Challa-slash-Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman and T'Chaka actor John Kani, who made their Marvel debuts in Captain America: Civil War — so here's your actor rundown before these familiar faces make their grand entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Daniel Kaluuya (W'Kabi)
Daniel Kaluuya plays W'Kabi, King T'Challa's confidant and closest friend, who serves as the first line of defense for Wakanda as head of security for the Border Tribe.
Kaluuya appeared on 11 episodes of television drama Skins before making a one-off appearance in an episode of Doctor Who.
He appeared as UFC fighter turned costumed supervillain Black Death in Kick-Ass 2 before his turn as Critical Incident Response Group Agent Reggie Wayne in the critically acclaimed Sicario alongside Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, who plays the Collector in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kaluuya landed his biggest role yet in writer-director Jordan Peele's social horror-thriller Get Out, which has since been nominated for four Academy Awards.
Kaluuya's lead role landed him a Golden Globe nomination (Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy) and an Academy Award nomination (Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role).
Letitia Wright (Shuri)
24-year-old Letitia Wright has less than 20 credits to her name, but the young star is already on the rise in Hollywood: she, too, appeared in a one-off episode of Doctor Who and a 2017 episode of fan-favorite sci-fi Black Mirror.
2018 will cement Wright as a familiar face with audiences: she appeared in action thriller The Commuter alongside Liam Neeson, released earlier this month, and plays Reb in director Steven Spielberg's pop culture-inspired blockbuster Ready Player One, out in March.
She next plays T'Challa's 16-year-old sister Shuri in Black Panther, a role she'll reprise three months later in May's Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios' massive superhero team-up uniting every franchise of the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Princess, chief Wakanda technology designer and super genius, Shuri has been described as being even smarter than brilliant engineer Tony Stark.prevnext
Michael B. Jordan (Erik "Killmonger" Stevens)
Michael B. Jordan continues to rise to leading man status.
He first proved his mettle as Wallace in HBO crime drama The Wire before tackling a recurring role as Reggie Porter Montgomery in soap opera All My Children.
Jordan caught attention again as Vince Howard in TV sports drama Friday Night Lights and again in the small scale found-footage superhero drama Chronicle, and teamed with filmmaker Ryan Coogler for the first time in critically acclaimed real-life drama Fruitvale Station, telling the true story of Oscar Grant, who was famously shot dead by police in 2009.
The young actor portrayed iconic Marvel superhero Johnny Storm a.k.a. the Human Torch in the oft-maligned 2015 Fantastic Four reboot before hit boxing drama Creed — part sequel, part spinoff to the long-running Rocky saga — reunited Jordan with Coogler, cementing the actor as leading man material.
Jordan makes his Marvel debut as Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, a Wakandan exile and T'Challa's fiercest rival.
"I'm a geek, I love this world," Jordan said of his Black Panther role. "I love being able to play in that fantastic kind of space. I looked at it kind of like it's another shot and to get it right, to do it again."prevnext
Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia)
Actress and fashion icon Lupita Nyong'o made her big screen debut in 2013 historical drama 12 Years a Slave, for which the actress won an Academy Award for her role as Patsey.
Since then, Nyong'o has appeared in Hollywood's biggest blockbusters and franchises: she made her way to a galaxy far, far away as Force-sensitive alien Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (a role she reprised briefly in December's Star Wars: The Last Jedi), and appeared as another CGI-crafted creation in Disney's re-imagining of The Jungle Book under Iron Man director Jon Favreau.
She played Nakku Harriet in Disney's Queen of Katwe, inspired by the true story of Ugandan chess player Phiona Mutesi, and will next appear in comedy horror Little Monsters alongside Frozen and Beauty and the Beast star Josh Gad.
Nyong'o makes her Marvel debut as Nakia, a Wakandan CIA Agent described by the actress as a "war dog."
"Her job is to spy around the world and report back to Wakanda to keep Wakanda safe and keep Wakanda informed," Nyong'o said, adding the mysterious Nakia is a former flame of new king T'Challa.prevnext
Angela Bassett (Ramonda)
Also adding to Black Panther's pedigree is actress and activist Angela Bassett, who won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role as Tina Turner in biopic What's Love Got to Do with It.
Bassett, among the most recognizable and prominent black actresses, portrayed civil rights advocate Betty Shabazz in Denzel Washington-starrer Malcolm X — a role she portrayed again in Panther, focused on the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense — civil rights activist Rosa Parks in The Rosa Parks Story, and Coretta Scott King, activist and wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in Betty & Coretta.
Bassett portrayed Doctor Waller in the oft-maligned Green Lantern, starring future Deadpool leading man Ryan Reynolds, and has since played Ana Spanikopita in irreverent animated comedy BoJack Horseman and has earned several awards for her multiple roles in horror anthology American Horror Story.
The actress joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ramonda, the regal mother of T'Challa and Queen Mother of Wakanda.prevnext
Danai Gurira (Okoye)
Danai Gurira is best known for her iconic role as katana-wielding zombie slayer Michonne in hit zombie drama The Walking Dead.
The actress and playwright is committed to the long-running series, now in its eighth season, but her stock in Hollywood is only getting hotter: she portrayed Afeni Shakur, mother of world-renowned rapper Tupac Shakur, in last year's All Eyez on Me, and will hit the big screen twice this year in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
Gurira, who has a corner on the badass warrior market, plays Okoye — a fiercely loyal Wakandan warrior and head of the Dora Milaje, an all-female special forces and King T'Challa's personal bodyguards.
Gurira can be spotted charging into action at the end of the Infinity War trailer alongside Marvel heavyweights Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).prevnext
Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue)
Andy Serkis made his Marvel debut in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, as South African black-market arms dealer and smuggler Ulysses Klaue, who lost a hand to Tony Stark-created villain Ultron.
Serkis, the most prominent motion capture actor, helped pioneer the technology with performances as the CGI-created Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings saga and as over-sized ape King Kong in Jackson's 2005 film.
Serkis portrayed another iconic ape, Caesar, in Fox's rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy, and utilized the technology again to give life to Supreme Leader Snoke, enigmatic bad guy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross)
Martin Freeman reprises his Captain America: Civil War role as CIA Agent Everett K. Ross, formerly of the Joint Counter Terrorism Task Force.
Ross is reunited with T'Challa when they both find themselves after the same adversary: Ulysses Klaue. A skilled tactician with advanced weapons training, Ross becomes an invaluable ally to the Black Panther.
The actor is best known for his role as John in romcom Love Actually, Tim Canterbury in UK mockumentary The Office, small-sized hero Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, and Dr. John Watson in British crime drama Sherlock, where he partnered with fellow Marvel star Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the mystical Doctor Strange.prevnext
Forest Whitaker (Zuri)
Long-time actor Forest Whitaker is arguably the most familiar face in Black Panther, where he plays elder Wakanda statesman Zuri, who has been described by Coogler as "Black Panther's version of Obi-Wan Kenobi."
The stalwart character actor has a diverse body of dramas to his name, including turns in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Color of Money, Platoon, the Clint Eastwood-directed Bird, recent sci-fi hit Arrival, and thrillers Phone Booth and Panic Room.
Whitaker won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 2006's The Last King of Scotland, and more recently joined the Star Wars universe as grizzled war hero Saw Gerrera in Rogue One.prevnext
Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa / Black Panther)
41-year-old actor Chadwick Boseman gets his big break as a Marvel leading man in Captain America: Civil War after steadily growing a notable resume in recent years.
Boseman first turned heads in 2013 biographical sports drama 42, where he portrayed baseball legend Jackie Robinson.
A charismatic Boseman then starred alongside Kevin Costner as NFL prospect Vontae Mack in Draft Day, later playing iconic performer James Brown in biographical drama Get On Up.
He played another real life Black hero in Marshall, where Boseman starred as Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice, alongside This is Us breakout star Sterling K. Brown, who makes his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as N'Jobu, a mysterious key figure from T'Challa's past.
"The hype is deserved. The hype is deserved," Brown said of Black Panther following his recent historical win at the SAG Awards, promising the movie is "gonna be dope."
"I'm excited for Chad, I'm excited for Ryan," Brown said. "I'm excited for people of color, and of the mainstream, to see a Black superhero and for that to be a normal thing in society."
Boseman stars in Black Panther, out February 16th, before reprising the role in Avengers: Infinity War, out May 4th, and Avengers 4, out May 2019.prev