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Meet the Cast of Black Panther in Stunning New Character Portraits

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Just one day after new Black Panther photos surfaced, Entertainment Weekly has also debuted nine new character portraits. These images offer a closer look at some of the most important characters in all of Wakanda, including T’challa (Chadwick Boseman), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira), W’kabi (Daniel Kaluuya), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Zuri (Forest Whitaker), Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and M’baku (Winston Duke). We also have some new details from executive producer Nate Moore, who reveals that M’baku will never be call by the nickname given to him in the comics, “Man-Ape.”

Entertainment Weekly debuted these new photos today, ahead of the publication’s annual Comic-Con issue hitting newsstands tomorrow. The site also spoke with several of these cast members, along with director Ryan Coogler and executive producer Nate Moore, who all shed some light on these unique characters. We learned yesterday that Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia has the important task of going undercover to make sure all of Wakanda’s secrets are protected. When asked about her character’s sense of style, the actress had this to say.

“I would say Nakia is very practical. She dresses for the job at hand, but she doesn’t compromise her style.”

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also teased that Danai Gurira will “steal every seen that she’s in” as Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje, a group of female warriors that serve as the secret service to the king. Executive producer Nate Moore also adds that Daniel Kaluuya’s character W’kabi is part of a tribe that live on the borders of Wakanda and serves as the country’s first line of defense. W’kabi was asked by T’challa to serve as his advisor, since he trusts his friend’s “knowledge and instincts.” Here’s what Kevin Feige had to say about T’challa’s sister, Shuri.

“She is also a genius and runs the entire Wakandan design group. She’s responsible for amazing technological advances that Vibranium has brought about from Wakanda.”

Director Ryan Coogler also described Forest Whitaker’s Zuri as a religious figure who T’challa looks to for guidance, and that he is a “major tie-back to T’challa’s father,” T’chaka (John Kani), who was killed in Captain America: Civil War. The director also said Zuri should be thought of as the Black Panther version of the Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here’s what Nate Moore had to say about T’challa and Shuri’s mother Ramonda.

“Her goal in the film is to help T’Challa become king of Wakanda in a peaceful transition of power, serving as a de facto advisor to the throne. However, as things get complicated for our hero, she sets aside any political functions and instead operates as a mother whose sole concern is the physical well-being of both of her children.”

Nate Moore also touched on the uprising against T’challa lead by the villainous Erik Killmonger, revealing that they didn’t want to present Wakanda as “monolithic,” where everyone agreed with everything the king said. Killmonger is one of the many in Wakanda who doesn’t agree with the king, and that he represents “a voice of a different side of Wakanda”. The final poster features Winston Duke as M’Baku, and as many comic book readers will know, the character is also known as Man-Ape. Nate Moore confirmed, though, that while he is referred to as M’Baku, he is never called Man-Ape in the film.

“We don’t call him Man-Ape. We do call him M’Baku. Having a black character dress up as an ape, I think there’s a lot of racial implications that don’t sit well, if done wrong. But the idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own right. You learn that M’Baku is essentially the head of the religious minority in Wakanda and we thought that was interesting.”

While Marvel Studios hasn’t confirmed what will be showcased during their San Diego Comic-Con panel quite yet, Black Panther will most certainly be one of the movies on display, arriving in theaters February 16, 2018. It is believed that Black Panther will also have a presence at the D23 Expo this weekend in Anaheim, California, but it hasn’t been confirmed what will be shown at this time. Take a look at the new Black Panther character portraits below.

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