This article originally appeared on EW.
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Behold the kingdom and the power.
Black Panther graces EW’s annual Comic-Con preview issue, featuring an exclusive set visit beyond the border of Wakanda — the fantastical African nation where Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa rules over a secretive and futuristic society.
It’s a place Marvel fans have been waiting years to visit – and the film provides a starring role to the historic first black comic-book superhero, whose power to inspire transcends even his feats of physical strength.
In Marvel lore, T’Challa’s homeland is the site of massive natural deposits of Vibranium, the near-mystical metal that comprises Captain America’s shield, is woven into his Black Panther, and has allowed the people of Wakanda to make technological leaps nearly a century ahead of the rest of the world.
But as T’Challa learns upon ascending the throne, the minute others know you have something valuable, someone will try to take it from you.
In self-defense, Wakanda has closed itself off from the other nations of Earth, maintaining a false front that it’s a mere third-world nowhere – full of mines, farms, and jungle creatures. The truth is, its mines produce the rarest, most precious metal on earth, its fields grows the Heart-Shaped Herb, a Vibranium-enriched plant that grants its leaders superhuman strength, and its jungle creatures provide inspiration for one of the sleekest superheroes to ever leap from the page to the screen.
In our preview of the Feb. 16 film, EW explores the threat to T’Challa’s kingdom from both within and without. Standing by his side is Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, a covert agent whose job is to stifle word of Wakanda’s secrets, hunting down its enemies with deadly force.
One such foe is Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, a dissident from the country and aspiring prince who has colluded with a hostile foreign adversary in a bid to bring down the rightful heir to Wakanda’s throne.
The enemy Killmonger has aligned with is Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue, the Vibranium poacher last seen having his arm sliced off in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He has replaced the appendage with a piece of sonic mining equipment stolen from Wakanda, but the real danger is what he could tell the outside world about the nation’s secrets.
With Klaue and Killmonger joing forces, T’Challa already faces an ominous external threat, but there is also unrest among the tribal leaders of Wakanda, who fear the young king is repeating his father’s mistakes by engaging too much with the outside world.
“In this movie, a lot like politics, it’s a little tricky to define who’s [a good guy],” says director and co-writer Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed). “The film very much plays with those concepts, looking at conflicts and different motivations, and who’s with who.”
Wakanda has never been conquered. But that doesn’t mean ruin can’t come from within.
Look for new portraits and film images, details from the set visit, and Q&As with the cast on EW.com over the next few days.
The Comic-Con issue also features new looks at:
- Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One
- First Look at director Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle In Time.
- Concept art from the new film version of Stephen King’s IT.
- Ezra Miller on his version of The Flash in Justice League
- And Alicia Vikander on resurrecting Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.
Check out the exclusive Black Panther cover below.