Consider yourself fortunate – not many people get to visit Wakanda as a guest of the king.
The Black Panther teaser trailer has just dropped, providing our first journey deep into the fictional African nation that is part of our world, yet another one all to its own.
The movie doesn’t open until February 2018, but fans have been waiting years to see the homeland of Chadwick Boseman’s royal hero. As T’Challa, he rules over this unconquerable kingdom. As Black Panther, he makes sure it stays unconquered.
The trailer for director Ryan Coogler’s film begins in plain circumstances, with villain Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, The Hobbit) being questioned in a Korean holding cell by CIA operative Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman, also The Hobbit.)
“In that scene, they play the audience surrogate,” says Coogler. “One person knows quite a bit about Wakanda, and another person thinks they do — but they don’t. It’s just a teaser, so we don’t want to give away too much. But I thought it would be awesome to start with a character who has seen Wakanda in its true light.”
Watching this interrogation through one-way glass is T’Challa and the woman who stands as his right hand, the warrior Okoye (The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira) who heads the Dora Milaje protective core. They need to contain this problem. It’s a matter of state. Wakanda’s secrets must stay secrets.
“What makes Panther different from other Marvel superheroes is, he doesn’t seem himself as a superhero. He sees himself as a politician,” Coogler says. “He wakes up thinking, ‘How am I going to fulfill my duties as king of this place?’”
While Klaue promises there is more to Wakanda than anyone has ever seen, we don’t have to wait long to lay eyes on it ourselves. A wealth of the ultra-rare mineral Vibranium, which has almost mystical technological properties, has allowed Wakanda to become a futurist paradise. There’s no question it is the most advanced nation on Earth, and it has used its expertise to shield itself from view.
But within its borders, there are fissures: rival tribes who have different ideas about how it should be guided. Klaue — and Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, an exile from the nation — plan to exploit those divisions and pry open Wakanda for plunder.
Black Panther will learn that leaders must compromise, but when you compromise principles, heartbreak follows. As Zuri, the shaman advisor-priest played by Forest Whitaker, intones: “It’s hard for a good man to be a king …”
Have a look at the trailer; there’s almost more to decode than even hardcore fans of the comics could hope to solve. Fortunately, we have some help: Here’s Entertainment Weekly’s frame-by-frame gallery of the Black Panther trailer, with more clues and insight from Coogler and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
This article originally appeared in EW.