Next in Line

A native of the small, yet technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa accepted the mantle of Black Panther, the legendary protector of the Wakandan people, from his father, King T’Chaka, who filled the role before him as his father before him and so on. T’Chaka relinquished the title as he grew older and delved further into politics. This was a subject T’Challa looked upon with some dislike, although he acknowledged the increasing importance of it, even as Wakanda maintained an air of secrecy to hide its true nature and precious vibranium mines.

T'Challa and T'Chaka

Regardless of his feelings for Wakanda’s part on the world stage, T’Challa accompanied T’Chaka to an international summit in Vienna, Austria to ratify the Sokovia Accords, which promised to regulate all enhanced persons. Sadly, T’Chaka lost his life when Sokovian radical Helmut Zemo detonated a bomb at the well-attended meeting of heads of state, framing Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, in the process. At that moment, not only did the throne of Wakanda pass to T’Challa, but also the full weight of the Black Panther’s responsibilities, including the task of revenge for the death of the king.

Panther’s Bite

T’Challa wears a high-tech suit as the Black Panther, including a mask which hides his features and provides him with overall stealth capabilities. With vibranium threads woven throughout, the suit offers protection from gunfire as well as the elements, and responds to T’Challa’s smallest touch. In keeping with the panther motif, the gear also features retractable vibranium claws, night vision optics, and is ultra-light and form-fitting. In addition, the Black Panther can also absorb energy directed toward him, physical or otherwise, which may then be redirected outward for defense and offense.

Black Panther on the hood of a car

The king of Wakanda is also the recipient of the nation’s rare heart-shaped herb, which endows him with enhanced strength, speed, agility, and stamina. During a special ceremony, ingestion of the herb also opens T’Challa up to communication from his departed ancestors in the afterlife, including his late father.

Panther’s Enemies

Technically, all those who oppose Wakanda or seek to harm it would be considered enemies of the Black Panther, but a particular few have risen up to demand T’Challa’s focused attention.

The mercenary Ulysses Klaue steals vibranium from the small nation, an act of high sacrilege in Wakanda that earns him T’Challa’s enmity.

Challenge for the crown of Wakanda

It was another adversary, Erik Killmonger, who ends Klaue’s terror spree, when he felt he no longer needed the mercenary to help him gain control over Wakanda. Though expressing a legitimate challenge to the Black Panther title and mantle, Killmonger’s drive to drain the nation’s resources to uplift others around the globe brought him to a tragic end after battling T’Challa.

Helmut Zemo’s plan to take revenge on the Avengers for the death of his family in Sokovia unfortunately sweeps T’Challa and his own family up into its dark maw. Zemo orchestrates a bomb attack that kills T’Chaka, the Panther’s father, an act that T’Challa in turn seeks to avenge. Ultimately though, the Wakandan prince not only stops himself from murdering Zemo but stops Zemo from committing suicide, taking him into custody instead.

T’Challa’s protection of Vision brings Thanos’ army to Wakanda, making the Black Panther an enemy of Thanos in the process.

Awaiting the enemy on the battlefield

Panther’s Pride

Besides his devotion to his people, T’Challa values family above all else and welcomes his relatives to be close to him to lend support and wisdom. Ramonda, his mother, is a strong woman who, though grief-stricken over the murder of her husband and king, carried on to ensure the transference of power to her son, as well as the rich history of the nation. T’Challa loves his mother dearly and respects her strength in times of trouble. His love for his genius teenage sister Shuri is also deep. She acts not only as one of Wakanda’s chief scientists and healers, but also as both armorer and advisor to the new king. It is Shuri who works to upgrade the Black Panther’s equipment to maintain its cutting edge, ensuring it’s always ready to meet every demand T’Challa may place upon it.

T'Challa, Nakia, and Shuri

Two other women stand within the Black Panther’s inner circle: Nakia, Wakanda’s master covert field agent, and Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje, the nation’s special service forces. Nakia and T’Challa shared a romantic relationship until her path led her to serve Wakanda from a distance. But, upon T’Chaka’s death and his son’s ascension to the throne, Nakia returned to the capital city and discovered her path intersecting with her former love’s. In Okoye, T’Challa sees the heart of a true warrior, one he may depend on to stand strong and defend their nation when it is threatened.

T’Challa once considered W’Kabi, the former Wakandan head of security, among his closest friends. A falling out occurs when W’Kabi feels let down by what he sees as his king’s failure to capture Ulysses Klaue; he then allies himself with Erik Killmonger when the latter usurps the throne. Whether or not the bridge between the two men is repaired remains to be seen.

Still from Black Panther

Away from Wakanda, the Black Panther values the counsel of Everett K. Ross, an American government agent who was one of the first outsiders to learn of Wakanda’s true nature. In addition, T’Challa also now calls Captain America, Steve Rogers, his friend, though they were once pitted against each other during a dispute between the Avengers over the Sokovia Accords.

Panther’s Path


When T’Challa vowed to kill the Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes for what he believed to be the assassin’s part in King T’Chaka’s murder at the Vienna conference, he was at that time unaware that Helmut Zemo stood as the real culprit behind the heinous act. Soon after, the Black Panther ran up against Captain America and the Falcon, Sam Wilson, while tracking Barnes. All four men were taken into custody by the authorities, though T’Challa was not reprimanded to the degree Rogers and Wilson were. After an escape, Rogers’ subsequent refusal to hand Barnes over led to a clash between two groups: the rogue heroes who stood with Captain America and Iron Man’s team of Avengers and newly recruited allies, which included T’Challa.

Black Panther reaching for Bucky

Rogers and Barnes fled the aftermath of the battle to make their way to a Siberian Hydra base to capture Zemo. Both the Black Panther and Iron Man followed them, leading to another fight between Stark and Rogers. When Zemo, who was revealed as the real bomber, tried to shoot himself, T’Challa stopped him, having discovered the losses that motivated his father’s murderer. He decided Zemo should stand trial for his crimes, instead of quickly taking his own life. Later, Captain America, now a fugitive, was welcomed into Wakanda by T’Challa to bring Barnes—still struggling against his Hydra brainwashing —to a place of safety and healing and temporarily put into cryogenic freeze while Wakandan science was used to help him.

T'Challa being crowned

Days later, after T’Chaka had been laid to rest, the royal family prepared to crown T’Challa king. During the ceremony, the Jabari tribe leader, M’Baku, issued an official challenge for the crown, only to meet defeat at T’Challa’s hands. The Black Panther then learned of a vibranium artifact stolen from the Museum of Great Britain by the notorious Ulysses Klaue, and a search began to bring the man in once and for all. T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye went undercover in South Korea to interrupt an illicit deal set up by the American CIA agent Everett K. Ross with Klaue. In the process Ross was severely wounded, prompting T’Challa to bring him to Wakanda to be healed and to reveal the nation’s secret to him.

Erik Killmonger, T’Challa’s previously unknown cousin, killed Klaue and brought his body to the border of Wakanda. T’Challa had his forces bring the young man into the capital. Then, he learned not only of his family connection, but that T’Chaka himself was responsible for the death of Killmonger’s father and the boy’s abandonment in the United States. Issuing the official challenge to the throne, Killmonger beat T’Challa in ritual combat and tossed his seemingly lifeless body off the edge of a cliff into a bottomless chasm.

Black Panther

Amazingly, T’Challa survived and was taken in by M’Baku and his people, the Jabari Tribe. Nursed back to health, T’Challa returned to the capital with his forces to stop Killmonger from delivering Wakandan weapons to the downtrodden people of the world. A battle ensued between soldiers loyal to both men, but the tide was turned upon the arrival of the Jabari Tribe and the true Black Panther faced the usurper in the nation’s vibranium mine. There, T’Challa was triumphant over Killmonger, who chose to die from his injuries than live out the rest of his life in incarceration.

To honor his fallen cousin, T’Challa created an outreach center in the building his uncle once lived in in the United States, and also stood before the United Nations to open up Wakanda and end its isolation from the rest of the world.

T'Challa's Press Conference

Some time later, T’Challa was again contacted by Steve Rogers, who needed assistance with a complex operation to remove the Mind Stone located within the Vision’s head without killing Vision himself. Agreeing to use Wakanda’s advanced technology to help Vision, and also fend off the threat of Thanos, who sought the stone, T’Challa welcomed Rogers and several other Avengers to Wakanda. He also gifted the healed Barnes, who’d been living peacefully in Wakanda, with a new artificial arm to replace the one he’d previously lost.

Black Panther (T'Challa) preparing to face Thanos and his children

While Shuri attempted to remove the stone from Vision, T’Challa—joined by Rogers, Barnes and their Avengers allies—led his people in a huge defense of Wakanda, as an army of Thanos’ followers attacked. Despite their commendable effort, Thanos could not be stopped and successfully added the Mind Stone to his Infinity Gauntlet. Now in possession of all six Infinity Stones, Thanos snapped his fingers, ending half of the life in the universe within moments. T’Challa was one of many on the battlefield who disintegrated into nothingness.