It’s Black Panther week, and in just a few days, we’ll all be staring at movie screens in amazement. But who is Black Panther, the characters close to him, and the actors who play them? Why is this film so revolutionary?

Here is a list of interviews, first-person commentaries, and other stories that answer those questions to get you ready for premiere day.

To understand the characters and storyline

Black Panther Royal Family Tree Video by Marvel

If you’re not familiar with Black Panther at all and have never really read a comic, here’s a good place to start. Marvel outlined Black Panther’s family tree and super important relationships in this super helpful video. I watched it three times back-to-back and was pretty much ready to pick up all the comics I could find.

And broke some of the video down here.

Black Panther Royal Family Tree

Dive into Wakanda’s rich comic book history with the family lineage of its ruler, the Black Panther. Long live the king. ? (Art & Colors: Khary Randolph Art Gallery & Erick Arciniega)

Posted by Marvel on Friday, February 9, 2018

“Black Panther primer: Everything you need to know about the Black Panther” in the Washington Post

In this article, the Washington Post breaks down Black Panther’s previous comic and cinematic appearances, his superhuman powers, and the Black Panther comics you should definitely know about.

“‘Black Panther’: Behind the Scenes of the Marvel Movie’s Afrofuturism” in Wired

Now, if you’ve still got time to keep going, go a little deeper into the film’s connection to Afrofuturism. This Wired piece describes the specific connections.

Bonus: This American Life had an amazing episode on Afrofuturism last year that you can listen to here.

Plus, Vice News asked Afrofuturists they thought of Black Panther and you can find that here.

“How Black Panther Blends Politics, Culture, and Technology Unlike Any Other Superhero Film” in Gizmodo

So, when the movie starts, where are we? This article in Gizmodo explains how the new king is handling his transition into power following the death of his father, and how that sparks political unrest. (If all of that sounds like gibberish, make sure you watch the Marvel video right now. It’ll help you out.)

To get your ‘fits ready for the theater

“The Black Panther Cast Celebrates Their Roots by Reinventing Royal Style” in Vogue

If you haven’t seen photos from the Black Panther Los Angeles premiere, you’re late, but it’s OK because here’s a close-up look and fashion analysis from Vogue.

“For One Night, Wakanda Was Real: The Black Panther NYFW show was spectacular” in The Cut

The fashion didn’t stop at the first movie premiere. Aside from folks showing out at premiers all across the country and internationally, Marvel’s “Welcome to Wakanda” show during New York Fashion Week was everything you could as for and more. Read The Cut’s play-by-play here.

“‘Black Panther’ Costumes Are Peak Afrofuturism” in Racked

So, how do you even design costumes like the ones in Black Panther? Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter (Amistad, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Selma) discussed her inspiration and challenges with Racked. Read and watch the interview here.

To fall in love with the cast even more

“Welcome To Wakanda: The Stars Of ‘Black Panther’ Cover ESSENCE‘s March 2018 Issue”

ESSENCE magazine — home of all things black and brilliant — chose the Black Panther stars to cover their March issue. Check out the background and a little behind-the-scenes action here and the three different covers below.

“Lupita Nyong’o Opens Up About the Looks She and Her Hairstylist Created for Allure‘s March Issue”

Lupita!!!! This amazing woman covers Allure’s March issue. Read her interview with editor in chief Michelle Lee here.

“For the Stars of ‘Black Panther,’ Superpowers and Responsibility” in The New York Times

In an interview with The New York Times, director Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira talk about their role in challenging standard depictions of the African diaspora on screen. Read excerpts from their coversation here.

To ponder the movie’s greater importance

“Black Superheroes Matter: Why a ‘Black Panther’ Movie Is Revolutionary” in Rolling Stone

What’s most revolutionary about Black Panther may not be what we see this weekend, but what we may now have the opportunity to see in the future. Rolling Stone shares how Marvel’s investment in the movie signals a new era for black superheroes – and superhero movies at large. Read it here.

“The Revolutionary Power Of Black Panther” in Time

There’s that “revolutionary” word again — and for good reason. And, this article in Time examines the many reasons Black Panther is significant, including the history of the black power movement, the birth of T’Challa (Black Panther) in the civil rights era, and recent Black Panther comic writers’ work to “expunge Euro­centric misconceptions of Africa.” Read it here.

Anything great I missed? Drop me a line and let me know!

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