Chadwick Boseman Explains Why Black Panther Doesn't Need A Secret Identity

The Black Panther doesn't have a secret identity, but just because you know who's behind the mask doesn't make Panther any less threatening.

Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman explained as much during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where Kimmel brought up the character's lack of secret identity. He also asked if not having one like other Marvel characters was disappointing in any way.

"No, no no no," Boseman said. "You know, there's still, there's a certain like fear factor that the mask creates, and there's still a legend around the character that has been created. I guess you would either have to go to some of the comic books or see it in the movie, but there's an aspect of it that's like "is this Black Panther thing real." You don't need the secret identity because there's still the mystery of the Panther's prowess."

In the comics, the Black Panther is feared within Wakanda's borders thanks to the extraordinary legacy of past Panthers, a legacy built upon a mix of technology, skill, and mystique. Outside of Wakanda's borders, there's even more mystique, not to mention the royal respect given to a head of state. If you threaten T'Challa, you also threaten the army he commands, an army that could pretty much crush most countries twice or three times its size.

So yeah, that identity thing just doesn't seem to matter much.

Black Panther is a very different type of film for Marvel Studios, but director Ryan Coogler believes that the character of T'Challa grounds the more fantastical elements, i.e. all that crazy technology.

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“Obviously, T’Challa is an African king and there haven't been many movies made about that in any genre. So when you look at the movies of the Marvel movies… off the bat, that’s going to make that very different,” Coogler said. “This movie has a lot of different combinations. You’re dealing with a guy who’s real like Thor, but he’s from Earth which changes things. It gives it context and it grounds it in a way. Even though we’re dealing with a lot of fantastical elements, fantastical technology, it still kind of grounds it in a way that’s very unique.”

Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.