T'Challa's Next Adventure Begins in 'Marvel's Avengers: Black Panther's Quest'
James Mathis III discusses voicing Black Panther, as a new look at T'Challa and Shuri's dynamic debuts before the season premiere on Sunday, September 23 on Disney XD!
The King of Wakanda is back on TV as “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest” premieres Sunday, September 23 at 9:00pm ET/PT on Disney XD!
With the season premiere upon us, you can check out a brand new video above, taking a look at the crucial dynamic between Black Panther (voiced by James Mathis III) and his sister, Shuri (voiced by Daisy Lightfoot) in the animated series.
In anticipation of the debut of “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest,” Marvel.com caught up with James Mathis III to discuss Black Panther taking center stage, the character’s popularity, the joys of recording voice over for animation, and more!
Marvel.com: Black Panther has been part of the “Avengers” animated series for quite a while, but how exciting is it to see him really take the spotlight in “Black Panther’s Quest”?
James Mathis III: I think it’s even more than exciting! I think he’s proven himself among the Avengers to be a truly capable leader and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about him and his capacity leading his own people, and with the Avengers as well.
It was great to experience his family tree through the course of the season. We get to learn more about his lineage and with that get to learn more about him. It was great to peel back a few layers and really get in deep and experience some of the conflicts that made him the man and the king that he is.
Marvel.com: What can you say about the quest that that the title alludes to?
James Mathis III: I can say that part of it is it’s his quest for a deeper understanding of his place as king, his place as brother, and his place as an Avenger. I think he’s on a quest for knowledge that will settle and satisfy those different parts of him. It makes it so that there’s never nothing going on. There’s always something happening.
Marvel.com: You kind of alluded to this, but as the description for the season points out, he has to decide his loyalties between the Avengers and being king of Wakanda. Obviously being King of Wakanda is a great responsibility but the Avengers are doing a lot of good out there in the world. How much is he being pulled in different directions?
James Mathis III: I think there comes a time in all of our lives where we have to take root. And in his case he really has an allegiance to his people and more than that, we learn the importance of his duty and responsibility to his people and why that would be a constant in respect to the allegiance he has with the Avengers. That’s some of the delight of what will unfold over the course of the season, is learning why he might be conflicted in unknown ways.
Marvel.com: Shuri is working with him, travelling with him. What’s it like for you to get to explore that sibling dynamic?
James Mathis III: I thought it was amazing. I personally grew up with siblings, with sisters at that. I can certainly relate to the dynamic between T’Challa and Shuri as they grow and they both assert their independence. I thought Daisy was amazing. She brought a lot of texture to Shuri that was wonderful to see in the character’s evolution over the course of the season. It was great to play.
We brought ourselves to our roles and we met in a really agreeable place and we were able to play and color it from there. It was a really wonderful experience, creatively as an actor, to play with someone who was so open and free in the exchange.
Marvel.com: In the premiere episode you see Black Panther and Iron Man debating whether they can consider each other buddies or not and what exactly their dynamic is. Do you enjoy getting into those little moments?
James Mathis III: Yeah, that was great and so well written! Geoffrey Thorne really let it go as far as teasing and playing in those moments. And Mick Wingert, who plays Iron Man, is a really awesome actor, not just voice actor. He’s got great comedic timing. It was a great time to play the dynamic between those two. T’Challa has every right to believe that he is superior to Tony Stark in many ways.
Marvel.com: Having played this character for many years, what stands out most about him for you?
James Mathis III: The thing that stands out most to me about T’Challa is how honorable he is. I think he is more often than not going to err on the side of what’s right. He will make the objective decision that is the most beneficial even if it’s not necessarily his own decision. So being so honorable in his ability to compromise are qualities that resonate with me about him.
Marvel.com: This past year, Black Panther exploded in popularity on a worldwide level. What’s it like for you to see that and see how much this character continues to connect with more and more people?
James Mathis III: I think it’s amazing and I think it’s well deserved. I’ve come to appreciate and ultimately love this character in the few years that I’ve gotten to know him and it’s great to see more people's exposure to him and that they too can see how awesome of a character he is and his context in the Marvel Universe.
Marvel.com: It’s gotta be pretty cool when you can tell people you’re Black Panther!
James Mathis III: [Laughs] I think it’s cool. It’s pretty great. I have a seven and nine year old and my son, it’s a perfect time for him for his dad to be Black Panther. Which is awesome!
Marvel.com: When I’ve gotten to visit voice record sessions, it’s so fun to watch the cast bounce off each other. There seems to be a real feel of teamwork in the booth.
James Mathis III: It is always an enjoyable experience getting to record as an ensemble. We all appreciate each other’s work and if you close your eyes, you’re in the cartoon. You’re hearing Iron Man across the room or Captain America. And as an actor, they’re bringing their best on that day. They want to do their best version of whatever their character is. So you get a room full of everyone who is just prepared and professional and eager to do their best and play and enjoy these stories we get to do as adults, mostly, and live in this world for a while. The stories come alive in the room and sometimes you find things you might not have necessarily found if you were alone. I think it’s a great experience.
Marvel.com: Are there elements of “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest” you’re particularly excited to see in their finished form?
James Mathis III: Yes, I think Trevor Devall does a really amazing job as Ulysses Klaue and where we went with him is going to be really interesting to see what happens. And more than anything, I’m looking forward to Killmonger. I think he’s a character that probably has equal popularity, in some circles, based on the cinematic version. I think fans will find it really interesting, what we’ve done with respect to the dynamic between the two characters. And it’s very well played by Keston John. That’s what I’m looking forward to seeing. Everybody came very well prepared.
"Marvel's Avengers: Black Panther's Quest" premieres Sunday, September 23 at 9:00pm ET/PT on Disney XD!
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