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"What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world."

"You are a good man, with a good heart. And it's hard for a good man to be a king."
T'Chaka
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Black Panther is a 2018 film directed by Ryan Coogler and written by Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the eighteenth film installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, to succeed his late father T'Chaka (John Kani) as their king and protector — the Black Panther.

However, the combined forces of Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) and Black Market Arms Dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) seek to destroy Wakanda from the inside and usurp T'Challa's throne.

With the help of Wakandan intelligence agent (and T'Challa's ex-girlfriend) Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), his Gadgeteer Genius sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his personal guards, the Dora Milaje — which includes Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) — as well as CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), it's up to T'Challa to keep his nation from falling apart. Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, and Sterling K. Brown also star.

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A companion soundtrack — Black Panther: The Album — was released in conjunction with the film, produced and curated by Kendrick Lamar, featuring the likes of himself, SZA, and other artists affiliate from Top Dawg Entertainment.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer 1, TV Spot.


Black Panther provides examples of:

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    Tropes # to D 
  • The '90s: The prologue is set during 1992, and going by the news broadcast on the television in N'Jobu's apartment, specifically during the Rodney King riots.
  • Absurdly Cool City: Wakanda's capital looks amazing from above. It has a cloaking shield, skyscrapers mixed with vibranium, and magnetic levitation trains.
  • Accent Relapse: As N'Jobu and Zuri are introduced, they both speak in African American Vernacular English. As soon as T'Chaka shows up, however, they revert back to their native Wakandan accents.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the first official trailer, the introduction to Michael B. Jordan's character is him with flames in the background, saying that he'll "burn it all". Hmm....
    • In the movie, M'Baku is being a Troll by threatening to eat Everett Ross. Wait, when was the last time a troll threatened to eat Martin Freeman? Oh right, in The Hobbit.
    • Klaue (Serkis) being interrogated by Ross (Freeman), and asking him questions in turn, is not unlike the riddle game in The Hobbit between Gollum (Serkis) and Bilbo (Freeman).
    • Nakia's cover in Busan is that she's a Kenyan heiress. Lupita Nyong'o is from Kenya in real life.
    • Probably an unintentional one. Freeman's other famous role is that of John Watson. Here, one of the people he's facing off against is played by David S. Lee, who is also known for playing Professor Moriarty.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Nakia and M'Baku are supervillains in the comics (Malice and Man-Ape, respectively) and enemies to Black Panther. In this movie, they are supporting characters: Nakia is a spy and T'Challa's Love Interest (ironically, T'Challa not returning her feelings in the comics turned her into a Woman Scorned), while M'Baku is just a grumpy conservative that butts heads with The Hero but ultimately provides The Cavalry during the climax.
  • Adaptational Modesty: The outfits of the Dora Milaje show far less skin than they do in the comics. Nakia and Okoye are also aged up to adults around T'Challa's age, whereas in the comics, they were both teenagers.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In this movie, W'Kabi pulls a Face–Heel Turn and betrays T'Challa, something he never did in the comics.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film can be considered one for Don McGregor's run on Jungle Action (specifically "Panther's Rage").
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • "Killmonger" is now just a nickname Erik earned while in the military, with his last name changed to Stevens. He's still listed as "Erik Killmonger" in the credits though.
    • Wakanda's covert operatives are now called "War Dogs", as opposed to Hatut Zeraze, although Hatut Zeraze translates to "Dogs of War".
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Zuri, as played by Forest Whitaker, is a wise tribal leader and advisor to T'Challa with some vital exposition to deliver. All of this is a far cry from the Boisterous Bruiser of the comics who could give Thor a run for his money.
    • Shuri is a Gadgeteer Genius and tech-savvy, something her comic counterpart really isn't — that's actually a key attribute of the comics' T'Challa. In fact, her comics counterpart is actually the opposite — she focuses on Wakanda's hidden history and stories, using much more mysticism than her brother. In addition, she's much more lighthearted and prone to jokes than her comics counterpart, who is a much more serious character.
  • Adapted Out:
    • T'Challa's two most famous love interests, Monica Lynne and Storm, are both omitted. In the case of the latter, it was likely due to the MCU being unable to use X-Men characters at the time. Instead, T'Challa's primary love interest is Nakia, a character he never actually dated in the comics.
    • In the comics, T'Challa and Shuri have an adopted older brother named Hunter. In the movie, there's no indication that T'Challa has any siblings other than Shuri.
  • Adult Fear:
    • N'Jobu argued that Wakanda should work to help other black people in the world because authorities tear their communities apart and let them live in poverty. His method unfortunately — selling out vibranium to Klaue — led to thousands of Wakandans dying from the raid.
    • As a child, Erik found his father dead in his apartment, leaving him alone in the Oakland projects with no one.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Apparently a character study of one; though Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, it is also a tribal nation with all that implies — Feuding Families, spiritual lifestyles, Asskicking Equals Authority, etc. Just because they have universal healthcare doesn't mean they don't have internal dispute.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The Dora Milaje serve a similar purpose in ritual combat; they, along with the guards of any tribe whose royalty wishes to dethrone the king, close in on the fighters, forcing them closer and closer to the waterfall's edge.
  • African Terrorists: The first enemies fought in the movie when T'Challa is returning to Wakanda are a group of terrorists that kidnapped a number of women including seemingly Nakia (though she is actually undercover). Several sources have cited the real life African terrorist group Boko Haram as the inspiration for this group of mooks, owing to their tactics of kidnapping young women for use in harems and as slaves to be sold, and for kidnapping and indoctrinating young boys into Child Soldiers, as is mentioned by Nakia after the threats are neutralized.
  • Afrofuturism: This movie is a beginner's guide to all the tenets of the genre: It's about a black superhero who rules a highly technologically and socially advanced African nation, which has also successfully thwarted all would-be conquerors, particularly European colonizers.
  • Agent Provocateur: Agent Ross recognizes Erik "Killmonger" Stevens as one of his own, who was trained in infiltrating high levels of government and destabilizing them to make them easier to take down. True to form, after defeating T'Challa, he becomes the leader of Wakanda and puts in motion his plan to wage war on the world that enslaves and oppresses the people of Africa, and not caring if Wakanda is destroyed in the ensuing conflict.
  • Agony of the Feet: Happens when Okoye uses her spear against a mook in the casino scene.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Nakia, Shuri, and Ramonda, in trying to convince M'Baku to fight Killmonger, all kneel before him (though Ramonda is pretty reluctant to do so). M'Baku rejects their plea at first, but then shows them the broken T'challa when they offer M'baku the last heart-shaped herb. He also brings The Cavalry right when the Dora Milaje are near defeat, despite telling a rejuvenated T'challa that he won't help in T'challa's fight against Killmonger.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Killmonger. Upon his defeat, Erik acknowledges that all of his violence and hatred arose from a painful youth spent believing in fairy tales about an advanced and powerful African nation while he endured the racist elements of American society. In the end, he says his father always promised to show it to him one day. T'Challa picks him up and helps him outside to see the view of the Wakandan capital at sunset. After they commiserate about its beauty, T'Challa offers Erik the chance to patch the wound from his battle. Erik refuses the offer, wanting to die free instead of a man in captivity like his ancestors, pulls free the weapon in his chest and bleeds out in short order.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: W'Kabi has a pet rhino that obeys his commands and even licks Okoye on the face. Rhinos don't lick and are known for being very stubborn and aggressive.
  • All There in the Manual: The question of what happened to Bucky Barnes between his last appearance in the MCU and his brief appearance in this movie is addressed in the canonical Avengers: Infinity War Prelude #1 comic book.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Dora Milaje, T'Challa's squad of trained royal bodyguards, are all female.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: The life and death of Erik's father is important to the plot and described in detail, but nothing is said of who Erik's mother was or what happened to her apart from a mention that she was an American woman. Per director Ryan Coogler, Eric's mother was incarcerated during the opening scene of the film. Eric's father was apparently planning her breakout in said scene.
  • Amicable Exes: T'Challa and Nakia broke up sometime prior to the film, but are friendly and teasing with each other and are capable of working as a team. They later rekindle their romance.
  • Anachronic Order: The film is set a few days after the events of Captain America: Civil War, placing the events of this movie before Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok.
  • And Starring: Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis are billed as "With... With... And...", respectively.
  • And This Is for...: As Killmonger is about to bring his blade down on T'Challa, which would've been a fatal blow if not for Zuri's intervention, he says "This is for my father."
  • Animal Motif: Seems like every tribe in Wakanda has one. M'Baku and the Jabari's are apes, to fit his comic book role as Man-Ape. W'Kabi and the Border Tribe's appear to be rhinos: he keeps them as attack animals, uses scarification to mimic their hides, and his tribesmen all carry swords that resemble horns. The Mining Tribe's appears to be lions, judging by the large mane their champion wears. Nakia and the River Tribe's appear to be crocodiles; they have crocodile designs on their ceremonial robes, and some of their clothes subtly evoke crocodile imagery. T'Challa's, obviously enough, is panthers.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Killmonger was raised on stories about the wonders of his ancestral homeland and its bleeding-edge technology, but dismissed them as fairy tales after his father vanished from his life. Even putting aside the majority of the MCU set after 1992, the world has already seen Norse gods fighting giants made of ice in Norway and leaving behind a teleportation cube and a super soldier pit against a rogue Nazi and his weapons of mass destruction powered by said cube, so the idea of an advanced ancient acropolis such as Wakanda should be considered unlikely at best, but not impossible.
  • Arc Symbol: The film gives several focus on pits, reflecting the film's theme of being unable to escape from the past or how it impacts people.
  • Arc Words:
    • "We/You do not/will not speak of this". Said by characters in order to preserve Wakanda's masquerade as an impoverished nation, but at the same time coinciding with the film's plot that is driven by a very Dark Secret.
    • "Who are you?" Plays into the overall themes of who we are versus who we choose to be versus who outside forces make us into.
    • The word "Ancestors" appears at significant moments in the film, tying into the theme of family history and how the past defines the present. When T'Challa and Erik take the Heart-Shaped Herb and enter the Ancestral Plane, the phrase "Praise the Ancestors" is spoken each time. Finally, when Erik is mortally wounded by T'Challa, he asks them to bury him with his ancestors.
    • "Wakanda forever!"
  • Arm Cannon:
    • Klaue sports one made from Wakandan mining equipment. His iconic weapon is disguised as a normal hand.
    • Shuri bears a pair of panther-shaped blasters on her hands.
  • Arms Dealer: Klaue sells vibranium artifacts and weapons to the highest bidder, whether that's criminal organizations or the CIA.
  • Artificial Limbs: Klaue now sports his iconic robotic arm from the comics that can turn into a Sonic Stunner.
  • Artistic License – Biology: After his experience in the Astral plane, Killmonger orders all the heart shaped herb burned. Botany teaches that fire tends to put plants in a "restore" mode that makes them release seeds. In attempting to ensure the extinction of the herb, he instead insured it would propagate.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The prologue showing the arrival of the vibranium meteor depicts the continents in their modern formation. Africa did not look like that "millions of years ago".
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Klaue tells Ross that El Dorado was in Africa all the time, saying that everyone looking for the fabled city was actually looking for Wakanda, implying it was the source of the El Dorado myths. However, the myth of El Dorado began with the Musica people, who were native to Colombia, and referred to a ritual in which a tribal leader would cover himself in gold dust and then wash himself off in a lake while his attendants threw gold and jewelry into the water as a gift to their god.
    • In the prologue, one can briefly see a chained slave convoy embarking a wooden ship while being overseen by a soldier wearing a Pith helmet. This is clearly an abstraction of several centuries of African history, uniting imagery from both the European powers' late 19th century Scramble for Africa (during which the Pith helmet was popularised) and the European transatlantic slave trade (which had all but dried up by the 1830s).
  • Artistic License – Military: Ross mentions that Killmonger was a Navy SEAL before joining the Joint Special Operations Command. Except DEVGRU (or SEAL Team 6, which is implied by Ross's comments) is already part of JSOC. Though he does say he joined a "JSOC Ghost Unit", which is presumably distinct from the SEALs and doesn't have a name to identify it.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Rhinos do not stop on a dime for anything.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Ross, when he comes to in Shuri's lab after his injuries are healed:
    Ross: Is this Wakanda?
    Shuri: No, this is Kansas.
  • Asshole Victim: Ulysses Klaue, who calls the Wakandans "savages" and generally acts like a crazy, racist jerk. He eventually gets gunned down by Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, and then presented wrapped in a tarp as a "little gift" at the Wakandan border.
  • Ass in Ambassador: The UN representative during the mid-credits stinger who condescendingly dismisses Wakanda as a third world country with nothing to offer to the rest of the world out loud during a televised event. Any trained diplomat watching the scene would do nothing but wince.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The way Wakandan line of succession works is that any blood relative or a representative of the tribe can challenge the royal king-to-be in ritualistic combat in which one opponent must yield or die, and if they win, they assume the throne instead.
  • Audience Surrogate: Averted. This was the role Everett Ross played in the comics, due to the assumption that the readers would mostly be white people who needed a white surrogate. However, in the film, he's the last major character to be introduced, first appearing well into the running time, and most of his subsequent moments of discovery about Wakanda and its capabilities involve things the audience have already been made familiar with. He does get to ask a couple of questions the audience doesn't already know the answer to (such as about the maglev trains), but not significantly more than any other character.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
    • Erik Stevens by itself is a normal name, but his military-earned moniker "Killmonger" is certainly this.
    • Carrying on from previous MCU films, Ulysses Klaue (pronounced "Claw" and meaning claw in German).
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: T'Challa's crowning celebration, which takes place atop waterfalls, just in case his power is contested.
  • Badass Crew: Killmonger's entourage of Wakandan warriors, who give the Dora Milaje pause before rescuing a captive.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In the opening narration, the Jabari clan are mentioned as having turned away from the Black Panther's leadership, the tone suggesting this is foreshadowing their role as antagonists later on. But aside from M'Baku challenging T'Challa early on, M'Baku and the tribe as a whole aren't antagonistic at all and even help the heroes.
    • Klaue is set up early on as the main villain — until Erik kills him halfway through the movie and takes his body to Wakanda as a means of gaining an audience with the ruling council.
  • Bald of Awesome: The Dora Milaje collectively are amazingly strong Bald Women. Okoye, in particular, is The Leader of this ass-kicking Amazon Brigade, and she represents a Gender-Inverted Trope of the Bald, Black Leader Guy. In fact, she hates having to wear a wig for the infiltration mission in the Korean illegal casino.
  • Barrier Warrior: The Border Tribe is this as a whole, their robes allowing them to project energy shields that they can use for defense. In the final battle, they use the shields to surround and contain the Dora Milaje.
  • Bathos: While not as abundant as its immediate predecessor, there are a couple scenes that indulge in it:
    • As each respective tribe presents their champion, but predictably decline to challenge T'Challa's claim to the throne, Shuri loudly complains about her costume and pleads with everyone to "wrap this up."
    • In the throne room standoff, after Erik defiantly shouts his Wakandan name and claims his royal blood, a tense exchange is interrupted by Erik's very irreverent and decidedly American greeting to the queen mother: "Hey, Auntie..."
    • After T'Challa has been brought back from the brink of death in Jabari territory, his family and Ross are all present to comfort him, when the moment is ruined:
      M'Baku: [yawning loudly] Are you done? Are you all done here?
  • Beehive Barrier: The Deflector Shields of the Border Tribe sports the standard honeycomb design; they are, however, flat panes rather than domes.
  • Behind the Black: Ramonda and Shuri somehow don't notice the Jabari guards around them until the one behind them steps out of his hiding spot and becomes visible to the audience. While most could be overlooked due to blending in with the mountain, the one on their right would've been standing on the ledge a few feet from them with nowhere to hide.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: After T'Challa stabs Killmonger in the chest with a spearhead, and fulfilling his father's promise to show him the beautiful sunset over the Wakanda skyline, they share this exchange:
    T'Challa: We can still heal you...
    Killmonger: Why, so you can lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, 'cause they knew death was better than bondage. [pulls out spearhead and bleeds out]
  • Big Bad: Eric "Killmonger" Stevens, a Wakandan-American mercenary who schemes to take the throne for himself.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the climax of the film, M'Baku arrives with troops to help T'Challa in his hour of need.
  • Big "NO!": T'Challa screams "NO!" multiple times after Killmonger kills Zuri.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one hand, Zuri perishes needlessly, many Wakandan military personnel die in the coup, W'Kabi is jailed for betraying T'Challa, and Killmonger chooses death over imprisonment, causing T'Challa to repeat his father's ultimate sin. The Heart-Shaped Herb is likely extinct, meaning T'Challa might be the last Black Panther. On the other hand, T'Challa manages to reconcile with the Jabari Tribe, wins back Nakia's heart, and opens up about Wakanda's true power to the rest of the world so he can better help it.
  • Black and Nerdy: Shuri, T'Challa's younger sister and current creator of the newest Black Panther suits and tech, geeks out about cars, and is implied to be a social media nut (at one point, using a Vine meme on T'Challa).
  • Blade on a Stick: The Dora Milaje use vibranium spears that are by themselves already able to pierce through cars (and are stated to be able to stop tanks).
  • Bland-Name Product: Killmonger and Klaue steal some artefacts from the Museum of Great Britain. Not the British Museum; the Museum of Great Britain.
  • Bling of War: Defied. When going over new suit designs, one of those Shuri offers has a distinctive and gaudy gold outline. T'Challa points out the point is not to be seen, and goes with the much more subtle all-black uniform. The gold suit does get worn by Killmonger in the Final Battle.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite all the blades displayed and the characters' use of lethal force, blood is a rare sight in the movie. This is notable in several scenes, for instance when Killmonger dramatically slits the throat of a Dora Milaje. It's averted in the duels with M'Baku and Killmonger, though.
  • Bodybag Trick: This trick is used by the heist crew that steals the vibranium from the museum. Namely, one member of the crew, posing as a museum visitor, causes a medical emergency by poisoning a staff member with help of another; the rest of the crew arrive disguised as paramedics. Once they've secured the vibranium, they wheel the fake museum visitor out to the ambulance on their gurney and make their getaway.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: While he had fairly good reason to think he wouldn't make it, Killmonger tosses T'Challa over the waterfall after defeating him instead of outright killing him, setting the stage for the latter to return later in the film.
  • Book-Ends: The film begins and ends with kids playing basketball outside a California apartment, until one notices a Wakandan airship. In the beginning, it's the scene where Killmonger's father is killed, while the ship remains cloaked the entire time, only spotted by its emissions. In the end, T'Challa tells Shuri that he bought the apartment building where said murder happened as well as the neighboring ones, and plans to turn the area into an outreach center. Reinforcing this, the ship is completely decloaked to let the kids check it out, while T'Challa answers questions about it.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Killmonger and his father have a valid point that Wakanda keeping its wealth and technology to itself rather than help those outside is allowing suffering to happen they could stop, but T'Challa and his father have a point that their intended method of doing so (Take Over the World and rule it the "right way") would make them no better than the colonists the two villains hate so much. T'Challa even rightly argues that despite being the king of a powerful nation, that doesn't mean he can arbitrarily decide to invade other nations or force them to treat other people fairly. T'Challa is able to reconcile this peacefully by legally opening Wakandan cultural and scientific outreach programs to help people in urban ghettos, and slowly ending Wakanda's policy of isolation. This also continues T'Chaka's original mission of goodwill and outreach that began in the Civil War movie, and allows T'Challa to finally help those who have been abandoned by Wakanda before.
  • Bowdlerise: The movie was slightly censored in India, removing references to Hanuman due to fearing "hurt religious sentiments" since he is a Hindu deity. When M'Baku shouts "Glory to Hanuman", said line is muted in the Indian version.
  • Break the Haughty: Ramonda and Shuri get a minor version of this. Both are shaken and terrified by Killmonger's brutal defeat of T'Challa, and when they come to M'Baku for help, they go on their knees in a gesture of appeal.
  • Brick Joke: T'Challa ribs Shuri for her insistence on upgrading her brother's gadgets, asking if she's also upgrading her ceremonial outfit for his coronation. During the ritual combat that precedes T'Challa becoming king, it turns out that no, she didn't:
    Shuri: This corset is really uncomfortable, so can we please just wrap it up?
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • T'Challa's admiration for his father is shaken when he learns that T'Chaka killed his brother and left Erik, a child, to fend for himself in one of the poorest parts of America. He wonders what kind of a king, or even what kind of a man would do such a thing.
    • W'Kabi's closeness and faith in T'Challa takes a serious dent when he fails to apprehend Klaue the first time — especially since his desire for vengeance was established earlier. This basically sets him up to destabilize T'Challa's reign when Erik arrives to see him with the dead Klaue.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Invoked during coronations and challenges for the position of king. T'Challa is given a concoction that takes away the Black Panther powers, so he has to prove his mettle on his fighting skills alone.
  • Bulungi: Exploited. Wakanda knowingly hid under the façade of a struggling third-world African country for a long time, causing people to overlook it as one of these, but it's actually the most advanced country on the planet.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: More evident than in his last appearance, but Klaue is an expert thief/mercenary/arms dealer despite being utterly deranged.
  • Burial at Sea: Erik Killmonger requests this, as he wants to honour the black slaves who preferred to jump off the ships than live in bondage. It's unclear if he actually got it, though.
  • But Not Too Black: Averted; most of the actors are dark-skinned, man and woman alike and regardless of prominence in the film. Some are a bit lighter, but only when compared with the others, and even then are impossible to mistake for anything other than black.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Wakanda's pacifism and isolationism despite their extreme technological advancement is accused of being this in an age of superheroes and continued crisis for oppressed minorities and third-world countries. T'Challa points out that interfering with other countries' problems has never been "their way", although he rescinds on this position by the end and takes active steps to share Wakandan progress with the world.
  • Call-Back: Surprisingly few for an MCU entry, but there are some to the events of Captain America: Civil War:
    • T'Challa watches a newscast summarizing T'Chaka's death and Zemo's capture at the beginning of the film.
    • Later in Korea, he and Everett Ross immediately recognize each other while both are trying to apprehend Klaue.
    • When T'Challa brings an injured Ross to Shuri, she comments on him bringing her "another broken white boy to fix up."
    • Bucky himself shows up in the post-credits scene, still without a prosthetic.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: During his second trip, T'Challa doesn't hesitate to condemn T'Chaka to his face on leaving Erik behind.
  • The Cameo: A post-credits scene reveals what happened to Bucky Barnes — he is seen convalescing in a tent in a Wakandan village, still minus his prosthetic arm, where the local children have started calling him "White Wolf".
  • Catch and Return: Variation; T'Challa's suit stores up the kinetic energy from bullets fired at him during the Busan car chase, which he then channels into an energy shockwave that totals an enemy car.
  • The Cavalry: After initially shrugging off T'Challa's request for help, M'Baku and the Jabari tribe arrive in the climax to help T'Challa.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Central Theme:
    • Interventionism. How much should you use your strength and technology to help others, and who decides? The film's core players are constantly engaged in debate and discussion of the issue, with no clear-cut answers beyond declaring that the extremes of "Abandon helpless children to preserve isolationism," and "Conquer the world in a tide of blood," are both bad.
    • The inability to escape the past, and the Cycle of Revenge; ignoring past transgressions will make them fester but the solution is not to return transgression for transgression because that will only end in mutual misery.
    • I Did What I Had to Do versus Honor Before Reason. Can a good man be a good king, or does a good king have to make decisions that make him not a good man?
  • The Chains of Commanding: Being king of Wakanda is not going to be an easy job for T'Challa. In addition to having to protect the country from outsiders who want to conquer and plunder its natural resources, he also has to contend with the various rival tribes — especially those looking for weakness in the new king so they can claim the throne for themselves.
  • Challenging the Chief: Any representative from the tribes or anyone with royal blood can challenge the king-to-be before his coronation if they see him as unfit for the position, and the two then duel until one yields or dies. During T'Challa's coronation, M'Baku challenges him and loses. Erik, being T'Challa's cousin, is able to challenge him later in the film, and nearly wins. Key word being nearly — as T'Challa never indicated surrender nor did he die, the challenge was never completed. Zig-Zagged by the movie making it clear they both need popular support. T'Challa's attempt to resume the challenge quickly turns into a Civil War between their supporters.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: You know this will be the case the moment M'Baku refuses to send his troops to aid T'Challa. Indeed, he appears right behind W'Kabi at the most dramatic moment.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Shuri lectures Ross about how the magnetic levitation mine train she conceived works. During the climactic duel between T'Challa and Killmonger, the sonic disruptors that are built on the magnetic way disrupt the nanomachines of both Black Panther armors, and T'Challa uses this to his advantage.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • After T'Challa's coronation, Shuri made him two new Black Panther suits before choosing one which he will use for the duration of the film. Killmonger ends up using the other during the climactic battle.
    • You can see Shuri working on her hand-blasters in the scene where Everett wakes up.
    • The magnetic levitation mine train mentioned on Chekhov's Classroom above.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The film's prologue has two; T'Chaka's mole on his brother's ranks and one of the kids playing basketball outside the apartment building where the former confrontation is happening. They're eventually revealed to be Zuri and Killmonger respectively in the present day.
    • The massive rhino W'Kabi is seen petting near the beginning? He calls a few to the final battle and uses them as mounts and extra muscle. Also, Okoye is shown feeding and petting the rhino, and at the climax of the battle it refuses to run her down and instead licks her face.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Before he joined the CIA, Ross is stated to have been a top-notch Air Force pilot. He uses his training on a remotely-accessible plane in the climax to destroy ships carrying vibranium weaponry.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: During a flashback during Killmonger's trip to the ancestral plane, N'Jobu comes across his son going through his hidden Wakandan possessions, including his journal. He sternly reminds his son he told him not to go through his things before chuckling and discussing what he's found.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Andy Serkis is having far too much fun as Klaue. He sings pop songs during his interrogation.
    • M'Baku doesn't appear to have an indoor voice at all during his fight with T'Challa:
      M'Baku: WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?!
  • Child Soldier: T'Challa unknowingly faces a teenager that was kidnapped when rescuing the slaves from the terrorists in the beginning. He is almost going to kill him, but Nakia intervenes in time.
  • Collapsible Helmet: The Black Panther's second costume is made from nanomachines, and thus is wholly collapsible into the collar the king is wearing. T'Challa no longer has to remove the helmet part manually, as it vanishes or reforms with a thought.
  • Color-Coded Characters: T'Challa is associated with purple, Okoye with red, and Nakia wears a lot of green and yellow.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Killmonger and T'Challa fight while both wearing panther suits at least twice in the film. T'Challa's suit is black and silver with blue highlights, while Killmonger's is black and gold with red highlights. Their energy effects are also different.
    • Each of the Wakandan tribes have a predominant color theme, allowing them to be immediately identifiable on screen. The Mining Tribe is red, Border Tribe is blue, River Tribe is green, Golden (Royal) tribe are black and purple, Merchant Tribe is black and gold, and the Jabari Tribe are brown and white.
    • Purple is used to represent spirituality. Zuri wears predominantly purple clothes, the Heart-shaped Herb glows purple, and the Ancestral Plane often has a purple sky.
    • Blue is also used to represent "colonization" and "colonizers". The scenes in London are overcast and lit bluely, with even the docent's suit being blue. Killmonger's clothes have significant blue components, both civilian and military. And W'Kabi's blue basthoto blanket presages his desire to be more aggressive with Wakandan foreign policy and eventual falling in with Killmonger.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Killmonger breaks the shaft off of a long ceremonial spear in order to use it as a dagger during his first fight with T'Challa.
  • Combat Stilettos: Nakia is wearing high heels while undercover at the Korean casino, and when a brawl erupts she puts them to good use, both while still on her feet and by grasping one as a weapon.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: A theme of the movie is if Wakanda decides to share their technology, what is the right way to do it?
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
    • M'Baku is not called "Man-Ape", as the filmmakers wanted to avoid the can of worms that'd come from having a black character named and patterned after a gorilla. The Jabari tribe still has a simian motif, and he is addressed as "The Great Gorilla" as a term of respect because of his status, but it's downplayed in comparison.
    • Ulysses Klaue's comic moniker Klaw is completely absent. While his artificial hand does transform into a sonic weapon, that's the extent of his similarities with the comic character. Although his legal last name is indeed pronounced the same as "Claw" and is German for claw.
    • Inverted with Erik Killmonger, whose last name in the comics is made into a nickname he got during his time in the military, with his full name now being Erik Stevens.
    • Also inverted with Bucky, who is referred to as "White Wolf", the codename of a Wakandan superhero in the comics. Like Bucky, this character was a white man who lived in Wakanda, although the similarities end there.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the trailer, Ross mentions previous Marvel films by telling T'Challa "I have seen Gods fly. I've seen men build weapons that I couldn't even imagine. I've seen aliens drop from the sky. But I have never seen anything like this."
    • One to Bucky's post-credits scene from Captain America: Civil War when Ross gets shot and T'Challa takes him back to Wakanda for treatment, Shuri quips about having "another broken white boy to fix."
    • In the first post-credits scene, T'Challa is the keynote speaker at a United Nations press conference and refers to Wakanda as a nation in the shadows, both points that T'Chaka fulfilled in Civil War.
    • Wakandan war dogs are noted to be stationed at New York, London, and Hong Kong, the exact same cities that the sorcerers' Sanctums are located in.
    • A tidy one to the comics; back in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Klaue states that his vibranium stockpile is worth "billions"; here, we see exactly how much he stole: a quarter-ton. In the comics, vibranium is often quoted as being worth $10,000 per gram — a ridiculously high price, as a single gram of weapons grade plutonium is only $4,000. A quarter ton is about 227 kilograms, so Klaue stole over two billion dollars in vibranium.
  • Cool Chair: The Wakandan throne, an artistically sculpted throne made completely out of metal and covered in various runes.
  • Cool Train: The magnetic levitation train Shuri conceived to transport vibranium in the mines. Sonic disruptors are built on the magnetic way to temporarily neutralize the raw metal's effects.
  • Costume Evolution: T'Challa's first outfit in the film is a modified version of his Monochromatic Eyes costume from Civil War, but with softer, more round shapes on certain areas such as the ears in contrast to the original's more sharp-edged design. Later in the film, Shuri designs a third armor for him that is lighter and simpler in design, which also glows purple and shows his eyes.
  • Costume Porn: Wakandan fashion trends towards the highly ornate and colorful. It even spills over into the cast and crew's wardrobe at the world premiere.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If T'Chaka had taken his orphaned nephew in after his father's death, Killmonger would never have come to be. If T'Chaka had admitted his brother's crimes and why he was killed, Killmonger would have merely been the son of a criminal, not a lost royal, and as such would have no claim on the throne. T'Challa calls his father out on this in their second meeting in the Spiritual Plain.
  • Covered with Scars: Killmonger displays ritual scars on his arms, explaining each one is part of a kill tally marked to get to Wakanda. He takes off his shirt at the falls and reveals both arms and entire torso are covered in tally scars.
  • Create Your Own Villain: During T'Chaka's reign and time as Black Panther, he killed his brother and left his nephew behind. Said nephew grows up to become Killmonger, determined to bring down the royal family.
  • Creator Cameo: As to be expected, good ol' Stan Lee makes his obligatory cameo, this time as a Thirsty Gambler (per the credits) in the Korean casino.
  • Crossover Cosmology: All Wakandans pray to their ancestors, but while the majority align themselves with Bast, (a cat goddess associated with ancient Egyptian mythology) who is seen as a panther goddess, the Jabari tribe follows Hanuman, who is a god usually associated with Hinduism.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: T'Challa is stabbed in the side and then falls with his arms outstretched to his "death", then he shows up alive a short time later.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Wakanda is the only city in the MCU that can rival Asgard in pulling this aesthetic. It has gleaming advanced technology, shiny buildings, and sophisticated infrastructure, befitting its status as the most technologically advanced city on Earth. It's also got a highly spiritual society built around a monarchy and a tribal council, and its people have Impossibly Cool Clothes.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Killmonger experiencing racial prejudice and seeing how his people have been treated outside Wakanda ultimately drives him to become bitter and hateful to the point of becoming no different. He also hates T'Challa for T'Chaka killing his father, for reasons directly coming from the same cycle that gave Killmonger his motivations. Defied by T'Challa, who already learned his lesson about revenge thanks to Zemo and tries to make amends to break the cycle, and failing that at least makes an effort to let Killmonger die happier.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed. While there are many snarky and humorous moments befitting the MCU, there are fewer outright laugh-out-loud moments compared to previous outings like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which were more lighthearted overall.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Part of the ritual to be the King of Wakanda involves the crowned king having a conversation with his ancestor(s).
  • Decomposite Character: Killmonger takes on several aspects of T'Challa's adopted brother Hunter from the comics, such as being a relative and wanting the throne for himself. However, Hunter's status as a white man in Wakanda, as well as his superhero name White Wolf, is given to Bucky in the post-credit scene.
  • Deflector Shields: The warriors of the Border Tribe have vibranium technology laced in their colorful cloth cloaks, allowing them to erect one-man energy shields before them in battle, and employ them in group for defensive maneuvers.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Jabari's gorilla motif is toned down but still present and Ramonda comparing M'Baku to one is a sign of respect. Since Wakanda has never been colonized, it's seen as just another Animal Motif like the panther, without carrying the racist implications it would have in the rest of the world.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: Lexus and Toyota vehicles feature prominently during the chase scene in South Korea. Every single vehicle driven by a hero or villain gets totaled by the end of the chase.
  • Die Laughing: Fugitive arms dealer Ulysses Klaue betrayed and fatally shot by his partner in crime Erik Stevens, who reveals himself to be a Wakandan. Klaue, ever the Giggling Villain, dies chortling over his own mistake.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Klaue is treated as the main threat during the first half of the film until Killmonger kills him and takes center stage.
  • Disposable Woman: Killmonger's girlfriend exists pretty much so he can coldly dispose of her when Klaue takes her hostage, proving that he's a lot more than Klaue's hapless mook.
  • Distant Prologue: The prologue takes place in 1992, while the bulk of the film takes place after Captain America: Civil War.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Shuri, while demonstrating the new shoes she's devised for the Black Panther armor:
    Shuri: Fully automated. They absorb sound so are completely silent. Know what I call them? Sneakers. Because you— [notices T'Challa awkwardly staring] — nevermind.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: The challenges for the throne can only end in two ways, a competitor yields, admitting defeat, or they refuse to yield and are killed. Every time T'Challa has to fight for the throne, he verbally asks the competitor to yield before the fight even begins and repeats the request every time he knocks them down or pins them. This is most evident in his fight with M'Baku, when he has M'Baku in a chokehold and M'Baku is clearly suffocating.
    T'Challa: Yield! Don't make me kill you!
    M'Baku: I would rather die!
    T'Challa: You have fought with honor. Now yield! Your people need you. Yield, man!
  • Dual Wielding: Killmonger's preferred fighting style when not using guns, with a short sword and the tip of a spear as his weapons of choice.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • One of the reasons T'Challa is unhappy when he learns the truth about his uncle's death is that he was denied a proper burial.
    • Shuri laments not being able to bury T'Challa after he is seemingly killed by Erik.
  • Dutch Angle: To underline how bad Erik Killmonger’s assent to king is, the scene as he approaches the throne is not just tilted but completely inverted.
  • Dying Truce: After T'Challa mortally wounds Killmonger, Killmonger mentions his father saying that the sunsets in Wakanda are the most beautiful in the world. T'Challa helps him walk up to the surface so he can see one before he dies.

    Tropes E to L 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: T'Challa, T'Chaka, Ross and Ayo all appeared first in Captain America: Civil War, while Klaue was first seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • End of an Age: By the end of the film, Killmonger's death and T'Challa's opening of an outreach center both signify the end of Wakanda's isolationist period that started centuries ago.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Killmonger's Evil Plan is to use the advanced technology of Wakanda to take on the rest of the world and "burn it all", establishing Wakanda as the sole remaining world superpower.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Erik Killmonger's introductory scene takes place in the African portion of a British museum, where he is looking at artifacts. An expert in African artifacts meets him and they chat. One artifact is actually a disguised Wakandan weapon, and Killmonger states that he will be taking it. The artifacts expert guffaws saying that none of the artifacts are for sale, but then Killmonger chews her out about how her colonizing ancestors obtained the artifacts and how he has been surrounded by heightened security since he walked into the museum. He proceeds to tell her that security failed to check her coffee as she collapses from her poisoned coffee, allowing Killmonger's team to follow through with a heist in the guise of EMTs. Then he takes an African artifact, not because it's from Wakanda, but because he's "feeling it." This quickly establishes Killmonger as passionate about African history, but also a calculating, methodical and dangerous individual.
  • Exact Words:
    • A challenge to the throne can only end when one side yields or dies. T'Challa points out that as he never did either — despite nearly dying after falling off a waterfall — he is still the rightful king.
    • In a related scene, M'Baku points out that the outcome of T'Challa's duel against Killmonger was less of a murder and more of a defeat. It seems like he's just talking about the rules of ritual combat, but then he reveals that he found T'Challa alive. There was no killing at all.
  • The Exile: Killmonger is the orphaned son of a Wakandan spy, killed by his own brother King T'Chaka for helping Klaue steal and smuggle vibranium out of Wakanda (Klaue also caused an explosion to cover his escape, killing many including W'Kabi's parents), with the intent on arming black revolutionaries stateside. After becoming a dreaded black-ops mercenary with ritual scarification, he returns and enacts revenge on T'Challa.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Unlike the rest of the characters who use mainly spears, shields, and swords, Nakia uses Rings of Death as her primary weapon for hand-to-hand, possibly as a sign of her status as a River Tribe heiress.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Zuri calmly accepts his Karmic Death at the hands of Killmonger to keep him from murdering T'Challa. Unfortunately, Killmonger opts for killing them both instead.
    • Killmonger's death is a combination of this and Defiant to the End: offered the chance to be healed by T'Challa, he quietly compares himself to the black people captured in various slave trades who jumped to their deaths in the ocean rather than spend a life in bondage, before pulling out the spear T'Challa stabbed him with so he can bleed to death.
    • Klaue subverts this hard, not by begging or getting afraid, but by simply cackling psychotically at this absurd turn of events.
  • Fearful Symmetry: Killmonger takes a version of the Black Panther suit and faces off against T'Challa in the final battle.
  • First-Name Basis: In the second stinger, Bucky is willing to let Shuri refer to him by his nickname after she first addresses him as Sergeant Barnes.
  • Flourish Cape in Front of Face: The Wakandan Border Tribe does this in battle because Vibranium technology sewn into their cloaks forms Deflector Shields they can close ranks to contain someone.
  • Fluffy Tamer: When W'Kabi and his rhino charge M'Baku, Okoye stands her ground between him and the beast. The rhino stops in its tracks, pauses, and licks Okoye's face affectionately.
  • Foil:
    • Killmonger has several contrasting qualities against Helmut Zemo, the last villain T'Challa faced. Both were former black ops soldiers who lost family members thanks to the actions of heroes who felt they were doing the right thing at the time, but while T'Chaka's death was collateral on the way to Zemo's real targets, Erik's feud with the Wakandan royal family and their allies is front and center. Zemo had no allies and minimal resources, but was much more cerebral in his goals while Killmonger has a number of connections and materials, and is more than willing to get his hands dirty. The end goal of Zemo's plans is to dismantle the Avengers as we know them, a plan without direct consequences and one which he succeeds in, while Killmonger intends to spread vibranium weaponry to oppressed African minorities to make Wakanda the dominant power, a plan that would reshape the world order in and of itself, but one which narrowly fails; by extension, the bodies both men leave behind in their pursuit of vengeance follows a similar path as those they hate. Even their relationships with T'Challa, who is sympathetic with both antagonists, differ; Zemo, effectively a stranger to T'Challa, is shown to be remorseful in taking T'Chaka's life and his own suicide attempt is interrupted by the Black Panther while his first cousin Killmonger will kill anyone in the royal family if the opportunity arises and T'Challa's offer to save his life falls on deaf ears as Erik willingly lets himself bleed out.
    • Killmonger is also this to Nakia. Both are highly trained covert operatives of noble birth who believe Wakandan isolationism must end after seeing the oppression and struggle in the world. However, while Nakia only uses violence when appropriate, and otherwise defaults to mercy and compassion, Killmonger glories in it. He plans to make Wakanda an imperial power, while Nakia wants to help through diplomatic outreach. He also callously discards his allies when they are no longer useful, whereas Nakia values and protects hers, even when it poses a danger to her, which is ultimately why he loses Okoye and the Dora Milaje as allies, and T'Challa's faction gains Ross. (Also notable that he attacks T'Challa's reign, and she goes after his before the coronation is even finished.)
  • Foregone Conclusion: T'Challa, Shuri, Okoye and M'Baku survive this film since they were revealed to return in Infinity War, and since T'Challa is seen commanding an army in the trailer for that film (which was released before this film), he's still king by the time that film takes place.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the intro, apparently ordinary street gangsters, planning an incredibly detailed heist, using language cleaner than any ganger in '92 Oakland would, turn out to be non-American Wakandan spies.
    • During the basketball game, one of the kids shouts, "Got you, E!" as he passes the ball to his teammate. That teammate is a young Erik.
    • In the same scene, James noticeably hesitates when he sees the Dora Milaje outside the door. It seems like he's stunned by their out-of-place appearance, but in reality, he knows exactly who they are, and what they entail.
    • When he realizes someone's coming, N'Jobu looks out the window, while a bunch of kids are playing basketball in the street below. That's exactly what he's looking at — one of those kids is his son.
    • When T'Chaka tells N'Jobu that he will be taken back to Wakanda to stand trial, N'Jobu gets a noticeable Oh, Crap! reaction. He's not concerned for himself as much as the fact that his son is going to be left behind with no-one to care for him.
    • One of the kids playing basketball is quick to notice the Wakandan airship, and looks stunned as he watches it fly away. This is Erik, who heard all about Wakanda from his father and thought they would be coming for him one day.
    • When T'Challa brings Ross back to Wakanda, Shuri snarks about T'Challa bringing another white boy for her to heal, which sets up the second stinger involving Bucky Barnes.
    • When W'Kabi gives T'Challa a rather needless What the Hell, Hero? remark about how T'Challa failed to bring back Klaue, it hints the former's Start of Darkness of switching loyalties with Killmonger.
    • In the scene introducing Erik Killmonger as a bespectacled young man browsing a museum, the tour guide showing him around coughs a little. Turns out, she wasn't coughing just because: Erik poisoned her coffee.
    • When T'Challa, stripped of his superhuman abilities, and M'Baku fight in a ritual challenge for the throne, T'Challa noticeably struggles when fighting on even footing with a non-powered opponent, even getting stabbed, before he ultimately prevails. His next challenge fight with Killmonger follows the same pattern, down to the stabbing, but this time, T'Challa doesn't come out on top.
    • Just before this, M'Baku is genuinely insulted by Shuri's irreverence during T'Challa's coronation, calling her out for disrespecting Wakandan traditions. This foreshadows him ultimately joining T'Challa against Killmonger, who uses Wakandan tradition when it suits him but discards it the second it becomes inconvenient.
    • In the car chase in Busan, none of the guns so much as scratch the special vibranium-coated car that Nakia and Okoye are in, but one shot from Klaue's Arm Cannon blasts it apart. It's because his cannon is a re-purposed Wakandan mining tool, designed to break apart vibranium.
    • Visiting T'Chaka in the ancestral plane, T'Challa confesses that he is not ready to live without his father. A young Erik "Killmonger" Stevens had to go through this at a much earlier age than the adult T'Challa.
  • Free-Fall Fight: During the final battle, T'Challa and Erik fall inside the hollow pit of the vibranium mine, and spend a long dozen seconds falling toward the bottom as they punch each other.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Out of all the six tribes of Wakanda, the Jabari are seen as the least willing to interact and play ball amongst them — not helped by their more extreme idea of Wakandan isolationism and disdain for vibranium technology (more so under M'Baku's leadership). Which is why it becomes a very satisfying surprise when they, in T'Challa's Darkest Hour, save him and eventually become The Cavalry come the climax.
  • Genre Mashup: Big time. Producer Nate Moore described the film as "James Bond meets The Godfather" in an African Advanced Ancient Acropolis.
    Nate Moore: I don't think people are prepared for what this movie is going to be. Not just Black Panther, but the Dora Milaje, and Killmonger, and the entire design of Wakanda — both its traditional African-inspired elements, but also the vibranium-inspired techno-elements.
  • The Good King: The trope is deconstructed as T'Challa wants to be a good king but doesn't know how. He reflects on it and seeks guidance from his father, who says that being a good man and being a king are NOT the same thing. T'Chaka would know because his duty as a king led him to kill his baby brother and abandon his nephew, which is definitely not something a good man would do. Furthermore, Killmonger ridicules T'Challa by shouting "Is this your king?" while dominating him in ritual combat and saying that such a failure can't be a successful king. His idea is a king that goes out into the world and enforces his will upon it, but he himself shows little regard for his country, its rules, or its people.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Not quite garbage, with it being a museum exhibit, but no-one noticed for decades that a warhammer's head is pure vibranium coated with a little dirt to mask it.
  • Groin Attack: Okoye delivers one with her spear handle to one of Klaue's mooks during the casino fight.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Averted. In the illegal casino in Korea, one of Klaue's bodyguards notices Okoye acting suspicious and immediately moves in on her. Even when Okoye tries to keep up the charade, the guard isn't fooled for a second, which leads to Okoye being forced to abandon her cover and a full-blown shootout ensues.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Zig-zagged. T'Challa goes into battle using his martial arts skills and Combat Parkour while his sister Shuri fights using dual Arm Cannons. However, the Dora Milaje, the all-female Praetorian Guard, fight primarily with high-tech polearms, Klaue relies on his Arm Cannon, and Erik is adept at both smashing and shooting.
  • Hahaha No: M'Baku (who, remember, was defeated by T'Challa in ritual combat) laughs after T'Challa asks for his help in his fight with Killmonger. He still turns up anyway.
  • Handshake Substitute: Wakandans greet each other and take leave by crossing their arms across their chest with crossed wrists so their shoulders and elbows form a W for Wakanda. The gesture is also used in ceremonies, to show agreement or consensus, and appears to be the final resting pose for those who die. Shuri also uses it as a gesture command and teaches it to Ross to free his craft from being snagged.
  • Harmless Freezing: Toyed with when, after nearly losing his challenge from Erik and tossed over a waterfall, T'Challa is found in cold, wintry Jabari territory. The ice he's kept under is indicated to be the only thing keeping him alive and his family is warned he'll die within seconds if they try to warm him up. He wakes up after consuming some Heart-Shaped Herb no worse for wear.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: For M'Baku, belligerent leader of the Jabari mountain tribe. A Boisterous Bruiser who is chieftain of a clan of gorilla-worshiping warriors, he is the only one to challenge T'Challa's claim to the throne during his coronation. T'Challa defeats him in single combat but spares his life. Later, when T'Challa is thought dead and Queen Ramonda and Nakia bring him the last dose of the Heart-Shaped Herb in the hopes he can defeat the greater threat, i.e. Killmonger, he reveals that T'Challa was found on the borders of their territory and lies comatose but alive, allowing them to revive him; M'Baku considers this his debt repaid. T'Challa later asks for his help fighting Killmonger but he declines, only to show up and turn the tide of battle with his Jabari warriors in the climax, somewhat setting the stage for his alliance with T'Challa come Infinity War.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Agent Ross takes a bullet for Nakia when Killmonger busts Klaue out of custody. Without Wakandan medical technology, he certainly would have died.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Continuing T'Challa's arc in Captain America: Civil War, this is a core theme of the film. Killmonger and his father both reacted to the oppression of Africans in the outside world by ultimately desiring an armed takeover of the world to "rule it the right way", with Killmonger becoming much more of the monster than his father but neither seeming to realize doing so would make them no different from the perpetrators of that oppression. W'Kabi also falls into this, as his desire for revenge on Klaue ultimately makes him easily manipulated by Killmonger and leads to him joining him. T'Challa already learned his lesson about this trope and actively attempts to avoid falling into it.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Wakanda is an extremely technologically advanced society which is Hidden in Plain Sight as a depressed third-world country. Despite said advancement, they do not share their progress with the world. Subverted at the end when T'Challa decides to open up Wakanda to the world.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: Present as a motif in Shuri's engineering laboratory, in case you weren't sure just how advanced Wakanda is.
  • Historical In-Joke: In the MCU, Sir Walter Raleigh and others' voyages to find El Dorado were actually looking for Wakanda (meaning they got the whole continent wrong).
  • History Repeats:
    • T'Challa is devastated to find out that T'Chaka murdered N'Jobu, his own brother and left his son to fend for himself. When T'Chaka tries to explain that it was for the good of Wakanda, T'Challa chews him out, saying that wasn't a good enough reason. But in the end, T'Challa ends up having to kill Erik for the good of Wakanda and the world as a whole, mirroring T'Chaka's dilemma.
    • Killmonger's hatred of the imperialism, colonization, and enslavement that caused the suffering of Africans outside of Wakanda ultimately leads him to try to repeat the exact same actions in the present.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: T'Challa's new suit is able to absorb and store kinetic energy, releasing it when struck in the same place. The first time he faces Killmonger, the energy his suit was storing gets released when the enemy shoots him. The resulting blast knocks T'Challa into a wall.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Okoye says that T'Challa froze "like an antelope in headlights," instead of a deer.
  • Holographic Terminal: Wakandan technology includes holographic terminals that display objects as if they were models built out of dark grains of sand. Featured in the sequence where T'Challa retrieves Nakia, and for the remote driving rig in Shuri's lab.
  • Honor Before Reason: This is a common theme in the plot:
    • When Killmonger challenges the throne, T'Challa could easily deny him, but goes through with it due to his father killing Eric's father in a dishonorable way.
    • Okoye and the Dora Milaje remain bodyguards for the king, no matter what. Even if the king is Erik Killmonger and he just supposedly killed T'Challa, as it was all within the law of the land. Subverted, however, when Killmonger flouts those laws by refusing T'Challa's challenge to continue their fight as he is still alive and not surrendered. Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje immediately turn on Killmonger and his supporters.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The Border Tribe can ride rhinos.
  • The Horseshoe Effect: Killmonger's plans for revolution (completely destroying any resistance, as well as using violent tactics to occupy a sovereign nation and using its power to occupy other sovereign nations, or supplying rebel groups to forward agendas aligning with his), is both neocolonialism and no different from the violent regimes he seeks to overthrow. T'Challa notes this when confronting Killmonger, and Agent Ross states that Killmonger's tactics (such as destroying icons of the old regime or installing himself for life, like burning the lotus garden so no one else can acquire it or use it as a rallying icon) were right out of the CIA playbook, often seen as one of the major agencies of neocolonialism among leftist scholars. Adding on another edge is that Killmonger served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the invasion of which is also seen as neocolonialism.
  • Hourglass Plot: Something of this kind happens with W'Kabi of the Border Tribe and M'Baku of the Jabari Tribe. In the beginning, during T'Challa's ritual coronation, W'Kabi is the most supportive of T'Challa's rise while M'Baku is the one to challenge him for kingship. When T'Challa fails in apprehending Klaue, W'Kabi wavers in his loyalty and brings in Erik (after he delivers him Klaue's dead body), seeking to be kingmaker in his rise after defeating T'Challa. M'Baku, in contrast, has his men rescue T'Challa after falling to the rapids, keeps him alive on ice, and eventually turns around to support T'Challa in his counter-coup against Erik's nascent reign. He even takes W'Kabi's place at T'Challa's right hand in court by the end.
  • Howl of Sorrow: T'Challa, usually a composed, stoic character, completely loses it, yelling and crying when Killmonger kills Zuri in front of him.
  • The Hypocrite: Killmonger, angry at white people for believing their superior technology gave them the right to conquer sovereign people across the globe... believes that Wakanda's superior technology gives Wakanda the right to conquer the sovereign peoples of the world. This does not escape comment by our heroes.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Announcing one's name and lineage is Serious Business for Wakandans (which ties directly to the Arc Words "Who are you?"). Early in the movie, T'Challa says this during his coronation tribal combat to affirm his worthiness. Halfway through, Erik Stevens "Killmonger" dramatically introduces himself as N'Jadaka, son of N'Jobu to publicly reveal his royal lineage. Interestingly, it seems one can only formally introduce himself in a conversation when asked to, as Killmonger himself patiently waits and tries to goad others into asking his name.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: T'Chaka's explanation of why he left Erik behind in America after murdering N'Jobu is that it was necessary to "preserve the lie" about Wakanda, and also about T'Chaka killing his brother instead of the brother "disappearing". This leads to T'Challa Calling the Old Man Out.
  • I Die Free: When T'Challa suggests that maybe they can save Erik from the fatal wound T'Challa gave him, Erik responds with an annoyed "Why? So you can lock me up? Nah, just bury me in the ocean, with my ancestors that jumped from the ships. Because they knew death was better than bondage." before pulling the spear he had been stabbed with out of his chest so he can bleed to death.
  • I Gave My Word: T'Challa gives his word to W'Kabi that he will bring Klaue to Wakanda to face justice. Sadly, he fails to do so, which costs him W'Kabi's trust.
  • Immediate Sequel: To Civil War, as a news broadcast at the beginning of Black Panther describes the Vienna bombing which killed T'Chaka as having only happened one week prior.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Killmonger exacts his revenge on Zuri for his role in N'Jobu's death by running him through with a spear.
    • Okoye threatens to impale Ross on a table should he lay a finger on T'Challa.
  • Informed Attribute: We are told repeatedly that the Heart-Shaped Herb gives the king/Black Panther enhanced senses and abilities. We see cat-like reflexes and super strength with the suit doing most of the work, but none of his other enhanced senses are made visible.
  • Instant Armor: Shuri makes T'Challa several new suits that use Wakanda tech to store them within a necklace and will immediately suit him up when activated, removing the need to put a helmet on himself as seen in the opening action sequence.
  • Instant Expert: Justified here: Everett Ross is already a combat pilot, having served during the Gulf War, and although he has no knowledge of the advanced Wakandan aircrafts, Shuri has configured the interface "American-style" for him when he remotely takes control of the Royal Talon Flyer — presumably meaning the controls are similar to those of a fighter jet Ross would be already familiar with. He only needs coaching for a gesture-activated function that you wouldn't find on an ordinary jet, but otherwise has no problem shooting down the cargo ships by himself.
  • I Owe You My Life: When T'Challa thanks M'Baku for saving him from the river, M'Baku shrugs that he was just repaying how T'Challa spared his life during their fight earlier. "A life for a life."
  • Ironic Echo: A rare example where the echo comes not from the film itself, but from history — the adage "The sun will never set on the British empire" is referenced, but here, Killmonger is talking about the Wakandan empire he plans to start.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Shuri, Nakia, and Ramonda tell M'Baku that T'Challa was murdered by Killmonger during ritual combat. M'Baku points out that since both sides accepted the combat rules, which allow for one combatant to kill the other, this is less murder and more a valid defeat. He still allows them to revive T'Challa and later arrives with his army to help fight the Border Tribe; not out of any love for T'Challa (whom he dislikes), but because Erik tried to subvert the tradition of succession.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The entire nation of Wakanda kind of comes off as this due to their isolationist and somewhat condescending manner towards everyone else on the planet. However, it's due to their own personal belief system and traditions, and don't really hold any ill will towards anyone not bugging them.
  • Job Title: "Black Panther" is a Legacy Character donned by the kings of Wakanda since recorded history.
  • Juggle Fu: During his final fight against Erik, T'Challa tosses a blade upwards, lands some hits while it's in the air, catches it, and fatally stabs Erik just before his suit stabilizes.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: T'Challa does this when Klaue escapes custody and throws a grenade. The vibranium suit averts the Heroic Sacrifice aspect, since it absorbs the explosion without trouble.
  • Just You and Me and My GUARDS!: When T'Challa returns to continue the ritual duel for kingship, Killmonger orders his supporters to kill him rather than facing him himself. While the one-on-one fight does happen later, it's only after the two get separated from the general melee that erupts.
  • Karmic Thief: Killmonger presents himself as one during the museum heist, telling the exhibit curator that all he's doing is stealing back what her ancestors stole from his ancestors. It's undercut by the glee he takes in the deaths and destruction involved, as well as the way he casually steals an unrelated artifact on the way out just because he likes the look of it.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: This happens with Okoye and Nakia, in Korea. After one of the goons spots Okoye she takes off her wig, but fights on in her flowing red evening gown. Nakia also fights while still in her green evening gown, going so far as to use her heeled shoe as a weapon.
  • Klingon Promotion: Downplayed in the ritual combat challenge. It was not required that the loser die. A combatant can yield or be killed. T'Challa does not wish to kill either of the combatants he faces during the challenge. M'Baku would have rather died, but T'Challa reminded him that his people need him, which persuaded him to yield. Killmonger, on the other hand, was dead-set on vengeance against the royal family and had nothing to lose so he refused to relent until either he or T'Challa was dead.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Invoked Trope. This is the image T'Challa seeks to inspire when going undercover at the Korean illegal casino as a rich Kenyan playboy. The two ladies being Okoye and Nakia, they are as removed as it is possible from mere eye candy.
  • Large Ham:
    • M'Baku. As he enters the coronation ceremony, his tribe's gorilla chant is far from discreet. After loudly voicing his disgust of Wakanda's current royal family, M'Baku proposes to challenge T'Challa in such a gloriously obnoxious manner that T'Challa himself ultimately interrupts him mid-sentence just to get on with the ceremony. He also uses the gorilla chant later at Agent Ross the moment Ross begins to speak out of place.
      M'Baku: YOU CANNOT TALK. One more word and I will feed you to my children.
      Ross: [gulps]
      M'Baku: I'm kidding, we are vegetarians. [proceeds to laugh his ass off]
    • Except for the scene where he and Erik get into a gunfight, Andy Serkis as Klaue is obviously hamming it up to his heart's content.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: One precise and powerful enough to cut vibranium.
    • In 1990s Oakland during the Rodney King riots, T'Chaka abandoned his nephew; he had to kill his brother to protect Zuri, and thought it best to just cut all ties rather than risk Wakanda's secrecy. That nephew was Erik Stevens, who grew up to become Killmonger; a hate-driven fanatic who defeats T'Challa in ritual combat, seizes the throne, destroys the Heart-Shaped Herb garden after claiming the power of a Black Panther, started a Succession Crisis that killed dozens of Wakandan fighters, and nearly plunged the entire world into a race war.
    • In contrast, T'Challa chooses to bring Everett Ross to Wakanda for medical treatment after he is mortally wounded Taking the Bullet for Nakia in Korea during Klaue's breakout. Ross could be considered the absolute worst type of person to bring to Wakanda; a skilled and decorated American intelligence agent dedicated to forwarding his country's interests at any and all costs. Ross' first actions upon awakening are to provide a quality dossier for Killmonger, detailing his elite training and combat record. Ross then pilots a Wakandan fightercraft in the ensuing crisis — even choosing to risk his life rather than abandon the remote operation controls — and is the reason Killmonger's race war fails to ignite. This probably influenced T'Challa's decision to share Wakanda's progress with the world.
  • Last of His Kind: Killmonger's first act as king is to burn all the Heart-Shaped Herbs, save for one Nakia manages to grab for T'Challa to use. Barring possible future events, T'Challa is now the last Black Panther to use the Herb's powers.
  • Leitmotif: There are a few within the film's score.
    • Killmonger has a short four-note melody that denotes his appearance within certain scenes.
    • T'Challa has a section of horns that plays when he appears sometimes, as well as a few talking drums that emulate the sound of his name.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When a young African-American kid asks T'Challa who he is after revealing his Royal Talon Flyer to the kids outside N'Jobu's old apartment, it could be taken as a nod on how, outside of Captain America: Civil War, the Black Panther would be largely unfamiliar for the non-comic reading audience.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again:
    • King T'Chaka, with utmost seriousness, makes this demand of Zuri that fateful night in Oakland in the '90s. That would prove to be a big mistake.
    • Played seriously as T'Challa and Okoye foil terrorists who have kidnapped men and women. Okoye tells them to listen to Nakia and go home, but to never speak of anything they saw that night.
    • To illustrate his new suit's kinetic energy absorption tech, Shuri has T'Challa kick it while video recording it for "research purposes". When T'Challa is sent flying by the blast, he orders her to delete the footage.
  • Logo Joke: The film trailers have the Marvel logo shaded black.
  • Long-Lost Relative: By virtue of their fathers being brothers, T'Challa and Killmonger are first degree cousins, which the latter uses to challenge for Wakanda's throne.
  • Love Across Battle Lines: Okoye and W'Kabi end up on opposite sides of battle when T'Challa returns to reclaim his throne from Killmonger.
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    Tropes M to R 
  • Magic Meteor: How vibranium came to Earth — a whole meteor of it crashed in Africa in what is now Wakanda. It created Mount Bashenga, a mountain full of vibranium deposits that's been mined by Wakandans for generations.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: During the first part of the movie, Ulysses Klaue is touted as the enemy T'Challa must hunt down. However, Klaue has an unnamed but notable new partner in the vibranium smuggling business, who eventually kills Klaue and comes to the forefront as "Killmonger", the real Big Bad of the movie.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Both Killmonger and his father N'Jobu (the latter being a Wakandan spy in America, the former Wakandan-American) want to use advanced Wakandan technology to empower oppressed minorities so they can fight back. N'Jobu helped Klaue steal vibranium, while Killmonger attempts to ship Wakandan technology to spies all over the globe.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Killmonger, in some shots, wears an African tribal mask he likes and stole in the museum, and later sports his own Panther costume.
  • Manly Tears: N'Jobu sheds them in grief for lost time with his son, and also for his realization of what Erik's plans (built on his own ideas) mean for Wakanda.
  • Marquee Alter Ego: In MCU tradition at this point, both posters show T'Challa without his mask. The trailers show him in costume both with and without it.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • Shuri, Nakia and Ramonda when Killmonger throws T'Challa off into the waterfall.
    • Shuri, Nakia, Ramonda and Ross when they are cornered by M'Baku's men.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's not clear if the ancestral plane is an actual plane of existence that T'Challa and Erik visit or if it's a memory-based hallucination that's a side effect of ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb. T'Challa at least treats the experience as entirely genuine.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During the prologue with N'Jobu in 1992 Oakland, the television in the background is broadcasting the Rodney King riots, making his desire to use advanced Wakandan technology to help oppressed minorities even more poignant.
  • Medium Blending: There are two animated sequences in the movie, both done to look like animated sand, probably in reference to the sand burial that is part of the Black Panther empowerment ceremony and the Wakandan Holographic Terminals that display things as if they're animated sand.
  • Men Don't Cry:
    • Averted: T'Chaka, Zuri, T'Challa and other men all shed tears and weep Manly Tears openly.
    • Zigzagged: in the spirit realm, N'Jobu asks if his son has no tears for him. Erik, wearing the form of the child he was last time he saw his father stoically comments "Everyone dies," indicating the forming of his tough exterior which allowed his hatred to grow. However when we see him as an adult just afterward he is crying, wiping his tears away.
  • Minovsky Physics: Vibranium is Unobtanium to the rest of the world, who thinks of it only as "the strongest metal on Earth" and that the Wakandan supply is exceedingly limited, but within Wakanda it functions as this. When properly engineered, it makes any and all sources of kinetic energy its bitch. Notably, the primary weakness of vibranium is vibranium technology; in Korea, Nakia and Okoye pursue Klaue in a vibranium car that takes full-auto fire without a scratch, but Klaue's Arm Cannon — a re-purposed Wakandan sonic mining tool — demolishes it in one shot. Captain America's shield makes its utility as kinetic energy-absorbing Nigh-Invulnerability building material obvious, but they can use it to make the quarter-inch-thick exterior of a car completely bulletproof. The same source makes it just as obviously a great material for projectile weaponry, but Wakandans can forge spears that can pierce solid steel when hand-thrown. They also use it to create hand-held sonic weaponry capable of pulverizing tanks, personal Deflector Shields and Artificial Gravity craft. The latest model of Panther Habit even has the ability to absorb energy from attacks and release it explosively.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Or Misplaced Domestic Animals — the sheep shown being herded in Wakanda are a breed that's distinct to Scotland and Britain. While they're found in other countries like the US and New Zealand, they're accustomed to temperate climates and would do poorly in an equatorial African nation, and especially stand out as inappropriate for an isolationist country like Wakanda.
  • Missing Mom: The film shows a fair bit of Erik's father, but his mother isn't in evidence. It's mentioned that she was American and that Erik's father loved her, and that's about it.
  • Monochrome Casting: The cast is predominantly African or African-American. This is justified by Wakanda being a very isolationist country in Africa, leaving most foreigners unable to visit.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: Several iconic ones of panthers, and an intimidating gorilla-face looming over the mountain pathway to Jabari territory.
  • Monumental Battle: Invoked in-universe as trial by combat for the throne are held at Warrior Falls. Later, T'Challa and Killmonger fight inside Wakanda's sacred vibranium mountain.
  • Mook Horror Show: The terrorists attacked by Black Panther in the middle of the night. First their vehicles inexplicably stall all at once, then they spot a dog barking at... something in a tree. And then one of them is sent flying into a car, hard enough to bend metal. Follow a brutal take-down by a mysterious, black-clad figure with an animalistic look that just shrugs off their bullets and kills them one by one with claws.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Clearly the reaction of T'Chaka when he kills his own brother on pure instinct.
    • Also the reaction of Erik's father on the ancestral plane when he realizes how his death has set his son on a path of murder and anger toward the world that can destroy Wakanda.
  • My Greatest Failure: It's made clear that Wakanda holds a lot of shame in itself and T'Chaka in particular for letting Klaue escape with even a small amount of vibranium. When T'Challa chooses to save Ross at the expense of letting Klaue escape, W'Kabi calls him out on it, saying T'Challa is merely continuing the failures of his predecessor. Killmonger even exploits this, presenting the corpse of Klaue to gain passage into Wakanda.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: In a Deleted Scene, just before T'Challa's speech to the UN, Everett Ross wishes him "Good luck and many shoelaces." in Xhosa.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Twice, by both the hero and the villain, as a sort of call and response.
    • When T'Challa is being outclassed in combat by M'Baku, he hears his mother in the crowd urging him to tell M'Baku who he is, giving him the Heroic Second Wind he needs to defeat him.
    • When Killmonger appears at the Wakandan royal court seeking the throne, he tries to goad T'Challa into asking what his name is; T'Challa, knowing who he is, doesn't bite, and Shuri tries to deflect by saying he is Erik Stevens, an American mercenary — Killmonger counters that that isn't his real name. Finally a council member takes the bait and asks, prompting him to angrily reveal his name and parentage (in Wakandan, for added intensity).
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Zuri asks if anyone of royal blood would like to challenge T'Challa, Shuri raises her hand. But it's just to make a complaint about the ceremony taking too long. In other versions, Shuri has indeed attempted the challenge for the throne.
    • T'Challa fights an armored rhino at one point. He famously fought a rhino in the opening of the Peter B. Gillis/Denys Cowan Black Panther mini-series in The '80s.
    • Also, T'Chaka's speech about "the conquered and the conquerors" is of note; in the comics, two repeated facets of Wakandan history are that they have never been conquered by an outside force, nor have they ever conquered any of their neighbors.
    • M'Baku does not wear his Man-Ape costume, but his outfit was designed to incorporate visual nods to his comic outfit.
    • The new Black Panther suit is composed of Vibranium Nanomachines that allow it to instantly form around T'Challa's body at a moment's notice, which was taken from Ta-Nehisi Coates' run in the comics.
    • T'Challa and Killmonger in a duel atop Warrior Falls, which is where they had their first encounter way back in Don McGregor's seminal "Panther's Rage" storyline during The '70s. It even ends with Killmonger throwing the defeated Panther off the falls, as happened in the comics.
    • Killmonger getting his own Black Panther suit is a nod to Christopher Priest's Black Panther run, where Killmonger temporarily became the new Black Panther after defeating T'Challa in tribal combat. The gold necklace on the suit even makes it look like T'Challa's costume from Priest's run.
    • Killmonger's suit having leopard spots on it is a nod to Preyy, his pet leopard from the comics.
    • The Wakanda Design Group, led by Shuri, is located in Mount Bashenga; named after a previous king of Wakanda and the first bearer of the Black Panther title in the comics.
    • In one of the areas where Wakandan glyphs move on translucent walls, one wall is blue and has "4" written on it. This is a homage to the Marvel superhero group the Fantastic Four, in whose comics the Black Panther and Ulysses Klaw made their debut appearances.
    • There are three Black Panther suits in Shuri's lab. In the comics, she's the official third bearer of the title. Further, during T'Challa's coronation, she trolled the ceremony by making it look like she will challenge her brother for the throne and title, a callback to the beginning of Reginald Hudlin's run, where she planned to challenge T'Challa for the Black Panther mantle.
    • At one point, T'Challa tells Klaue "Every breath you take is mercy from me," which is a line taken verbatim from his fight with Namor during Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers.
    • In the post-credit scene, the children of Wakanda are shown to have given Bucky Barnes the nickname "White Wolf," which was the moniker used by T'Challa's adopted older brother Hunter in Christopher Priest's run.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: What kind of a name is Erik Killmonger? Turns out it's a moniker others used to call Erik because of his high bodycount according to Agent Ross. His surname is actually Stevens.
  • Narrator All Along: The film opens with a child asking his father to tell him about their homeland. The narrator launches into a story explaining the history of Wakanda and the Black Panther. It's not until Killmonger visits the ancestral plane after being crowned king that you realize that the father and child were Erik and his father, N'Jobu. This is further cemented after T'Challa defeats Erik and reclaims the throne and Erik wistfully says that his dad used to tell him stories about Wakanda all the time before he was killed.
  • Neck Lift: Just after Killmonger is empowered by the Heart-Shaped Herb, he orders the rest of the plants burned. When the caretaker protests that they're Wakandan treasure that should be preserved for future kings, he brutally grabs her by the neck and tests his newfound Super Strength by lifting her from the floor.
  • Never Found the Body: Did anyone expect T'Challa to die from being tossed in that waterfall?
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • M'Baku and the Jabari are shown in the trailer attacking members of W'Kabi's tribe, hinting that they will help Killmonger to attempt a hostile takeover of Wakanda. This is actually the Jabari arriving just in time to back up the heroes as W'Kabi and his tribe are traitors.
    • Killmonger in the trailer declares that the world will start over and he will "burn it all," implying the line is spoken regarding his overall goal. In the film proper, he says the line while ordering the garden of Heart-Shaped Herbs to be destroyed.
    • Nakia is repeatedly shown in Dora Milaje armor and among the other Dora Milaje in the trailers, but in the actual film she isn't even from the same tribe and only wears the armor because it's the only set left at Shuri's behest because it's armor (and even then apologizes for it since she isn't one of them).
    • One of the highlights of the trailers is T'Challa standing before the United Nations in a press conference, most likely suggesting that the film will be about Wakanda finally opening its holographic mountain walls to the outside world and the consequences of doing so. The entire film is actually about if Wakanda should open up, and T'Challa decides to finally do so... in the mid-credits scene. Infinity War proves that the holographic mountain itself is never taken down. Rogers just knows where to fly in.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: T'Chaka killing N'Jobu and choosing the security of Wakanda over his now orphaned nephew has created the tragic monster known as Killmonger. And Wakanda suffers for T'Chaka's decision.
  • Nice Shoes: T'Challa is rather fond of his royal sandals. Shuri thinks they're lame and creates a pair of nanotech, sound-absorbing "sneakers" for him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The second duel of Warrior Falls ends this way once Killmonger gets the upper hand. He beats T'Challa senseless before throwing him off the waterfall.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Any form of Wakandan technology is this in the outside world. Klaue's car-smashing Arm Cannon is a re-purposed Wakandan mining tool. T'Challa stabilizes someone who had just taken a bullet for one of his fighters by shoving a Kimoyo bead in the hole — a Wakandan smartwatch.
  • No-Sell:
    • With his vibranium-infused costume, T'Challa walks through automatic weapon fire like walking through the rain. Absorbing a grenade's explosion is not a problem either with it — although like Captain America's shield, the blast still violently propels him away.
    • During the Korea chase, Nakia and Okoye come under gunfire. However, as their car is made of vibranium, they simply continue driving like normal. Okoye even sighs in a disappointed manner, calling guns a primitive weapon. Klaue's Arm Cannon, however, being Wakandan technology, is another matter entirely.
    • T'Challa and Killmonger are able to survive the impact of falling down the chasm of the vibranium mine relatively unharmed.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: When Erik had his Dead Person Conversation with his late father, it happened on a manifestation of their old apartment in Oakland.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Unlike other Wakandans, Michael B. Jordan does not adopt an African accent to play Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, instead using his natural American accent. This is justified in the film with the plot point that Erik was actually born and reared in America, meaning the only Wakandan accent he really heard was his father's, who was killed when he was still a boy.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The murder of Prince N'Jobu at the hands of King T'Chaka is revealed, and the consequences of such an action, which lead to Killmonger almost taking over Wakanda and starting a world war, convinces T'Challa to end Wakanda's isolationism and open its resources to the world. It's also because of Killmonger that T'Challa manages to finally unite all six tribes, inducting M'Baku into his council. The legacy of the Black Panther is also in question, as Killmonger had all of the garden growing the Heart-Shaped Herb burned.
  • Not His Sled: In the source material, M'Baku is a clear villain and in other adaptations, he uses the right of challenge to cheat and murder the king of Wakanda to take the throne himself. His challenge in the film is clearly meant to invoke those events... only for him to lose a fair, if close, fight and turn out to be an ally in the end.
  • Not Rare Over There: Vibranium in Wakanda. In the rest of the world, it's rare enough that Klaue having a quarter ton of it makes him the premiere supplier and allows Wakanda to pretend like that same amount was all they had when it was stolen. In Wakanda, they have a literal mountain of the stuff due to a meteor made of vibranium striking the area millions of years ago.
    Klaue: They've been mining it for thousands of years, and they still haven't scratched the surface.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • The normally stoic and regal T'Challa, the Black Panther and new King of Wakanda, stutters like a schoolboy with a crush when he sees his old flame Nakia.
    • And when Shuri records him getting knocked on his ass during a demonstration of his new suit's upgraded kinetic energy abilities, he commands her to delete the footage.
  • Not So Different: Erik claims to be fighting for Wakandan supremacy, but it's pointed out several times that he is acting exactly like the "colonizers" who ruined his life. In particular, his burning the Heart-Shaped Herb serves absolutely no purpose, but he was trained to destroy symbols of succession in order to destabilize enemy countries. That says quite a bit about how he sees his relationship with Wakanda.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Klaue invokes this during the theft in the British Museum. Making the crime scene more spread out and disorganized will make the authorities think they're dealing with amateurs.
    • Wakanda applies this on a national scale, by pretending to be a backwards nation of shepherds and weavers, while in reality they're the most technologically advanced country on Earth.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Everett Ross when he recognizes T'Challa at the Korean casino, realizing his sting operation to apprehend Klaue just got more complicated.
    • T'Challa when W'Kabi is about to summon the Border Tribe's vibranium-armored rhinos, complete with a Big "NO!".
    • M'Baku when W'Kabi charges at him with his rhino.
  • Oh My Gods!: Expressions like "For Bast's sake" are used through the movie. T'Challa uses it at one point during the chase in South Korea.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The opening scene of T'Chaka confronting a pair of Oakland gangsters is revisited later on and continues once we get it in the context of the gangsters turning out to be N'Jobu in deep cover and Zuri sent to monitor him.
  • The Oner: During the fight in the Korean illegal casino, one shot starts on the floor with T'Challa and Nakia fighting their own foes, Nakia grabbing a gun and firing it up at the balcony, then moves up to the balcony with Okoye fighting Klaue's goons, moves back down to the main floor where Nakia, T'Challa and Ross are still tussling, and then follows Klaue back to the balcony, pursued by T'Challa, with no cuts in the action.
  • Only Mostly Dead: T'Challa is assumed dead after being beaten up, stabbed, and dropped off a steep waterfall, but manages to barely survive due to the freezing waters below and being discovered by Jabari fishermen. He is ultimately revived by the Heart-Shaped Herb.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When T'Challa's friends and family seek refuge with M'Baku after Killmonger becomes king, he initially scorns and laughs at them — but when Nakia kneels before him and offers him the heart-shaped herb, his demeanor changes instantly as he realizes how desperate they must be to come to him for help.
  • Opening Narration: A lengthy one that describes how the vibranium meteorite crashed into Wakanda and the country's history that followed:
    "Millions of years ago, a meteorite made of vibranium, the strongest substance in the universe, struck the continent of Africa, affecting the plant life around it. And when the time of men came, five tribes settled on it and called it Wakanda. The tribes lived in constant war with each other until a warrior shaman received a vision from the panther goddess Bast, who led him to the Heart-Shaped Herb; a plant that granted him superhuman strength, speed and instincts. The warrior became king and the first Black Panther, the protector of Wakanda. Four tribes agreed to live under the king's rule, but the Jabari tribe isolated themselves in the mountains. The Wakandans used vibranium to develop technology more advanced than any other nation, but as Wakanda thrived, the world around it descended further into chaos. To keep vibranium safe, the Wakandans vowed to hide in plain sight, keeping the truth of their power from the outside world."
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The ring Killmonger sports on a chain around his neck becomes significant as the only other ring like it belonged to T'Chaka, who then gave it to T'Challa. It becomes the proof that the orphaned Killmonger is the son of N'Jobu and thus of royal blood. It then allows Killmonger to challenge T'Challa for the throne.
  • Outside Ride:
    • T'Challa rides on top of Shuri's car during the chase sequence in South Korea. At one point, he hops onto an enemies' car, disables it, and then flips back to Shuri.
    • Not to be outdone, Okoye rides on top of Nakia's car in the same sequence while using her spear to anchor herself.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Thanks to T'Chaka, little Erik's father, prince N'Jobu dies, making him an involuntarily Disappeared Dad.
    • Ryan Coogler reveals in the commentary that there was a Missing Mom as well. She was in prison and the plan to free her died with N'Jobu. She died in jail.
    • Also, the reason for W'Kabi's Face–Heel Turn is his enduring rage over Klaue murdering his parents while attacking Wakanda.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: The Jabari are all wearing these when Nakia, Shuri, and Ramonda come to appeal for help against Killmonger.
  • The Philosopher King: Downplayed somewhat with both T'Challa and T'Chaka, but they both definitely have elements of this since they both put great thought into what "a good king" is and does.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • T'Chaka swearing Zuri to secrecy on that night in Oakland and never speaking of it himself left the entire Wakanda royal family unaware and unprepared for Erik to show up, announce himself as the son of T'Chaka's brother, and make a legitimate bid for the throne. Worse still, if he had not held his silence, Erik might have been brought into the royal family sooner and thus never become Killmonger.
    • T'Challa makes things more difficult for himself by accepting responsibility for Klaue's escape and not attempting to defend himself by mentioning mitigating factors such as the fact that Klaue only got away because Erik helped him. If he'd mentioned that to anybody before Erik showed up, and especially if he'd mentioned it to W'Kabi, who subsequently supports Erik because he thinks Erik succeeded in capturing Klaue where T'Challa failed, things might have gone very differently.
    • In a deleted scene, Okoye actually does tell W'Kabi that Klaue only escaped because of Erik/N'Jadaka himself. W'Kabi doesn't care — both because he thinks T'Challa should have brought him straight back rather than work with the CIA, and because he genuinely supports N'Jadaka's plan.
  • Power Nullifier: To ensure a fair fight in ritual combat, the current holder of the Black Panther title is given a concoction that strips him of the powers of the heart-shaped herb.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Courtesy of M'Baku once he and his tribe give the Dora Milaje some much needed reinforcements:
    M'Baku: Witness the might of the Jabari firsthand!
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Ultimately subverted; the Busan car chase ends with a weakened Klaue being cornered by a furious T'Challa, who approaches him with claws extended and fully murderous intents with them. Klaue tries begging for mercy, to which T'Challa venomously responds, "Every breath you take is mercy from me." He almost offs Klaue right then and there, but the sight of the amassed crowd of civilians (some of them with phones up and recording) gets him to back down.
    • Double subverted; as Erik has downed T'Challa in their challenge, he prepares his finishing blow with the line "This is for my father." Zuri intercepts at the last moment and begs Erik to kill him instead, as he's more directly responsible for the death of Erik's father. His response?
      Erik: I'll take you both, Uncle James! (stab)
  • Product Placement: Shuri does some shilling for Coachella and Disneyland at the end, referring to them as more appealing places in California to visit rather than the remains of Killmonger's Oakland apartment.
  • Protagonist Title: This is T'Challa's solo movie outing after all.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Apostrophes are common with masculine Wakandan names: T'Chaka, T'Challa, M'Baku, W'Kabi, N'Jobu, N'Jadaka...
  • Purple Is Powerful:
    • T'Challa is strongly associated with the color purple. His suit has a purple tint when it's forming around him and has purple highlights, while a huge purple aurora borealis dominates the sky of the Wakandan spiritual plane when he visits.
    • The plants with the heart shaped herb glow purple, unlike the blue glow of other vibranium-powered objects.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Downplayed. Although Killmonger and T'Challa fight on railtracks, they are both very aware of the train, neither tries to throw the other in front of the train, and T'Challa intentionally has the trains activated, not for the trains themselves, but because of the stabilizers which will neutralize both his and Killmonger's Black Panther suits, putting them on more equal ground. Eventually this does give T'Challa the opening to fatally stab Killmonger.
  • Ramming Always Works: To take out the last of the transports he's chasing, Ross simply rams it with the Royal Talon Flyer, destroying both. It's the best option here since he doesn't need the aircraft any more, and is at no personal risk because he's piloting remotely. More importantly, he's in a hurry because another fighter jet is about to destroy the laboratory he's in with its pulse weapons and he has no time left.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: A number of fans criticized the fake-looking de-aging CGI used in the flashbacks to allow John Kani to play a younger T'Chaka, claiming that it wasn't as good as the similar effects used in Ant-Man or Captain America: Civil War. There was no CGI involved, and that wasn't John Kani — that was [his son Atwande, who looks like a clone of his dad.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The rise of superheroes in the MCU has brought an end to Wakanda's centuries-old isolation and secrecy. Part of this has to do with how the "Sokovia Incident" from Age of Ultron involved stolen vibranium, Wakanda's prized metal, and the bombings of Lagos and the UN conference in Civil War — 11 relief aid workers from Wakanda perished in the former, and King T'Chaka was killed in the latter.
    • Killmonger is met with a lot of hesitance and resistance from the Wakandan people after he grabs power and informs them of his plan. When he sends word to all of the Wakandans abroad to prepare to take up arms, the only ones who are willing to do so are the groups in London, New York, and Hong Kong, and they are spies and not warriors.
  • Red Herring: There's a scene showing Shuri's "Sneakers," which would allow T'Challa to move without making a sound, but nothing following this scene in the movie requires him to use them.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Killmonger and T'Challa. The former is younger, violent, and impulsive, while the latter is older, cautious, and stoic. Fittingly, Killmonger is introduced by a room of flames, while T'Challa is associated with water. Killmonger and T'Challa even have contrasting Panther costumes, the former's having red and gold highlights, and the latter's having blue and silver highlights. This becomes even more meaningful when it's revealed that the two are cousins.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Due to being highly isolationist, Wakanda doesn't share its incredibly advanced technology. This is a source of contention throughout the film — Nakia and Killmonger both express sharing Wakanda's progress with the world, for different reasons. T'Challa defies it by the end, promising the UN that he'll work to uplift other people with their technology. Also deconstructed, as many point out that while Wakanda's advancement could be a benefit to the world as a whole, others believe that as soon as the world knows what Wakanda has, they'll come to take it. And as we see, vibranium technology can be horrifically destructive in the wrong hands.
  • Reimagining the Artifact:
    • Much like the Mandarin, the Ancient One and Wong before him, the film reimagines the character of M'Baku/Man-Ape due to his gimmick being seen as being too offensive when applied to a black character in a 2018 movie. These measures included excising his gimmick and not using the name "Man-Ape".
    • The Dora Milaje are also slightly altered from the comics, where they serve as Black Panther's ceremonial wives-in-training and to avoid any can of worms involving the hero having a harem (especially one made up of girls way younger than T'Challa even if he never expressed any interest in them), they are simply depicted as his normal bodyguards, are aged up to boot, and are shown to be in relationships with other people, such as Okoye with W'Kabi.
  • Refusing Paradise: T'Challa is nearly killed by Killmonger. His mother manages to send him into the spiritual plane upon finding that he survived being thrown down a waterfall and is only in a coma. T'Chaka offers to take him into the afterlife, but T'Challa refuses, telling him he has to go back to prevent Killmonger from leading Wakanda and the world into ruin.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Queen Ramonda is T'Challa's stepmother in the comics; here she is T'Challa and Shuri's biological mother.
    • In the movie, Erik's father was of the royal line, so Erik gains powers from the Heart-Shaped Herb. He has no such lineage in the comics, which was a plot point. He was able to take the throne, but consuming the Heart-Shaped Herb left him in a coma.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: The king of Wakanda wears a necklace of either sharpened bones or canine teeth (the film doesn't state which) representing the fangs or claws of a panther, and has a throne.
  • Retractable Weapon: Okoye's vibranium spear can be collapsed to the size of a mere baton; she brings it with her into the illegal casino without any of the guards noticing.
  • The Reveal:
    • Erik's father was actually T'Chaka's brother, who sided with Klaue in an attempt to lead a black uprising across the world.
    • On a smaller level, the reason why the world at large didn't learn about the existence of the Black Panther after T'Challa's previous actions is because Ross covered it up in exchange for the CIA taking custody of Zemo.
  • Rhino Rampage: The Border Tribe has vibranium-clad and trained rhinos, which a then-traitorous W'Kabi sics on the Dora Milaje in the climax.
  • Rightful King Returns: Right after Killmonger takes the king's throne and has his forces prepared to spread Wakanda's weapons across the globe to enact his plan, T'Challa returns after having been revived by his mother via the herb. He comes to reclaim his throne and defeat Killmonger, citing that he neither forfeited the ceremonial challenge nor died and was thus still technically the king since the challenge technically never ended.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Being isolationists, the Jabari have spent centuries in the mountains, pride themselves on not being as technologically advanced as the rest of Wakanda... and in the final battle, they wipe the floor with W'Kabi's men who are armed with vibranium swords and energy shields.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • T'Challa is both King of Wakanda, taking an active role in his country's affairs, and Black Panther, the Wakandan people's protector.
    • His sister Shuri is both Princess of Wakanda and the (literally very) active head of her country's science department.
    • Nakia is of a high-status family (her family are prominent members of Wakanda's River Tribe), but is also active in humanitarian causes.
  • Rule of Perception: When Okoye is undercover and wearing a wig to hide her Bald of Awesome, it's immediately obvious that the wig is a wig. Presumably it's not meant to be that obvious in-universe, just a way to signal the audience that on this occasion "actor + wig = character in wig", unlike any other place in the movie where an actor might be wearing a wig that's meant to be the character's real hair.
  • Rule of Three:
    • There are three visits taken to the Wakandan spirit world. The first is while T'Challa is undergoing the ritual to become the king, set in a savannah surrounded by a purple aurora while he has a conversation confiding in T'Chaka about his responsibility. The second comes when Erik performs the ritual, set in his Oakland apartment with the same aurora, as he and N'Jobu discuss how both Wakanda and the world at large have wronged them. The third and final trip is during a desperate attempt to save T'Challa's life, set in the same savannah at daybreak, where he questions T'Chaka on his role in N'Jobu's death.
    • Erik asks the museum guide about two other random artifacts before he asks her to tell him something about the vibranium warhammer.

    Tropes S to Z 
  • Sanity Slippage: Klaue appears to have lost some marbles along with his arm, though he's not less effective for that.
  • Savage Piercings: Averted. While various characters sport body modifications traditional to different African cultures (such as the leader of the River Tribe sporting a lip plate), they're all presented as refined and high-class.
  • Save the Villain: After defeating and mortally wounding Killmonger, T'Challa urges him to accept medical aid and get healed, but Killmonger, unwilling to spend the rest of his life imprisoned, refuses, saying he'd rather be dead and buried in the sea, just like black people captured by slave traders in the past who chose death over bondage.
  • Scenery Porn: This film is packed with gorgeous vistas of Wakanda's cities and landscapes. Of special note are the towering waterfalls where challenges take place.
  • Schizo Tech: Hovercrafts and other extremely advanced technology exist in Wakanda, but their warriors go into battle wearing traditional-looking armor and weapons. Justified; said armor and weapons are all made out of vibranium, and are capable of much more than initially apparent — the robes worn in battle, for example, can put up a Deflector Shield.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Zuri ends up keeping the secret of what happened to N'Jobu and that he had a son T'Chaka chose to ignore and leave behind.
    • Everett K. Ross ends up privy to many secrets of Wakanda since he was saved by Shuri. At least until The Stinger, where T'Challa makes Wakanda's resources public knowledge.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • T'Challa's a smooth, refined African king bound to tradition. Killmonger is casual, street-smart, comes from an impoverished background, and wants to break all of Wakanda's long-standing rules.
    • Both M'Baku and Killmonger seek to overthrow T'Challa for similar-yet-seperate reasons: M'Baku believes T'Challa is content to ignore the rest of the tribes (especially his) and that T'Challa is far too progressive in the face of tradition; Killmonger believes T'Challa is content to ignore the plight of the oppressed in the rest of the world, and is ultra-radical to the point of destroying some of Wakanda's traditions.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • The ritual fight between T'Challa and M'Baku on the Warrior Falls has them both shirtless.
    • Killmonger strips off his shirt during his challenge of T'Challa, to show off his ritual scars, each scar marking an opponent he's killed. His arms and torso are covered all around with them.
  • Shoot the Hostage: A villainous example. When Klaue takes Killmonger's girlfriend hostage, Killmonger simply shoots her, taking away his leverage.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the 1992 Oakland prologue, James, Zuri's undercover persona, describes the Dora Milaje as looking like Grace Jones.
    • T'Challa's version of the Ancestral Plane, with panthers sitting in a tree watching our Protagonist, has uncomfortable similarities to a Dream Sequence in the 1982 remake of the film Cat People.
    • When Shuri shows the self-materializing shoes to T'Challa, she remarks that it reminds her of an old movie their father used to watch a lot.
    • Okoye scornfully describes guns as being "primitive", calling to mind Obi-Wan Kenobi. "So uncivilized."
    • When Ross wakes up, he asks Shuri where he is. She replies, "Kansas."
    • Killmonger's primary outfit for a chunk of the film is a blue body armor with additional armor over his torso, which sports yellow shoulder straps, very much resembling Vegeta's from the Dragon Ball franchise. Additionally, Erik is technically a prince for much of the film. Vegeta famously boasts about his status as Prince of all Saiyans. Michael B. Jordan is a proud fan of the series.
    • The final confrontation features a brief lull where T'Challa shouts that Erik will become the very thing he set out to destroy.
    • While Klaue waits for Ross to arrive and interrogate him, he loudly sings Haddaway's "What Is Love."
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: T'Chaka believes this, praising his son T'Challa for being a "good man with a good heart," but warns him that "it's hard for a good man to be king." However, see Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The driving force of the film. Killmonger is livid that his father was killed by his father's own brother and left him with no one to fend for him. Because of this, Killmonger swore vengeance on his uncle and his family and plans to take the throne of Wakanda for himself as compensation, whereupon Erik will help implement his father's plan to have Wakanda Take Over the World.
  • Snow Means Death: Inverted. The Jabari tribe kept T'Challa alive by keeping him in snow to slow down his vitals. Nakia, Ramonda, and Shuri are later able to revive him from his coma with the Heart-Shaped Herb by replicating the burial ritual of his coronation, but substituting sand with snow.
  • Something Completely Different: Unlike most MCU films, which typically feature a White Male Lead and a black Deuteragonist, Black Panther is the first to feature a person of color as the protagonist (and Everett K. Ross, though he plays a supporting role, doesn't rise to the level of deuteragonist). In addition, most MCU movies are typically set in either the United States or Europe, but Black Panther is set in a (fictional) African country and features a (mostly) black cast. It's also more serious and dramatic than previous MCU films.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Thor: Ragnarok, while both films' premises can be summarized as "A Succession Crisis caused by a Long-Lost Relative wronged by the protagonist's father", their execution is almost a deliberate contrast:
    • Thor: Ragnarok employs a loud, colorful palette while Black Panther uses a much more somber, simpler tone.
    • Thor: Ragnarok is a High Fantasy, Buddy Picture Comedy while Black Panther is a Low Fantasy with a dash of Spy Drama.
    • Hela wants to return Asgard to its conquering glory, while the Wakandans take pride in the fact that they were never colonized.
    • Both journeys feature the hero meeting his father as a Spirit Advisor. While Thor holds no ill will toward Odin and listens to his advice, T'Challa goes against T'Chaka's advice and shows disappointment in his father.
    • After their respective long-lost relatives take over the respective kingdoms, all of Thor's allies in the homeland stay loyal and die for him while all but a handful of T'Challa's allies work for Erik (both unwillingly and willingly).
  • Spirit World: Djalia, the Wakandan plane of memory, is an afterlife for members of royalty.
  • Static Stun Gun: The blunt tip of Okoye's vibranium spear handle is equipped with a taser, and she uses it to non-lethally stun her opponents during the casino fight.
  • The Stinger:
    • Mid-credits stinger: T'Challa reveals Wakanda's true nature to the UN.
    • Post-credits stinger: A bunch of kids wake a man sleeping in a hut, who is revealed to be a thawed Bucky Barnes. He's greeted by Shuri as he walks out, who asks him how he's doing, and that there's much more for him to learn..
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!:
    • Played for laughs when Shuri has a small mental breakdown upon seeing T'Challa's sandals.
      Shuri: The real question is WHAT ARE THOSE!? What are your bare feet doing in my lab!?
    • On a more serious note, T'Challa himself employs this when confronting Zuri about the events in Oakland.
      T'Challa: What happened to [my uncle, N'Jobu]?
      Zuri: I promised the king I would say nothing—
      T'Challa: I AM YOUR KING NOW!
  • Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: Played With. Wakandans prefer tribal weapons with ultra-tech refinements; the Dora Milaje use vibranium-enhanced spears that can pierce any mundane armor and send opponents flying when smacked with the blunt end, the Border Tribe uses similar vibranium-enhanced sickles and cloaks that project Deflector Shields. No wonder Okoye sneers at chemical slug-thrower firearms as "primitive" and Klaue is giddy when he tells Ross that his car-smashing Arm Cannon is just a re-purposed mining tool; the Wakandans have weapons that make it look like a leaf blower.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: Killmonger turns Klaue into a Disc-One Final Boss about halfway through the movie, then specifically chooses death over imprisonment in the climax. T'Challa wants to subvert the trope, but Erik is outright having none of it, and ultimately T'Challa ruefully accepts the decision.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: The Wakandan sacred plane has a very strong purple tint, complete with a huge purple aurora borealis in the sky. It's implied that the aurora is only seen by the monarchy of Wakanda, as when T'Challa visits the plane while Erik is king, the sky is set at sunrise.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: Wakandan tech bracelets — also known as Kimoyo Beads — which look just like a regular bead bracelet but are actually modular smartphones that project Holographic Terminals, controlled through a combination of voice commands and gestures; the first bead is given at birth for monitoring health (Wakanda has had universal healthcare for generations), and further beads act as additional processors/applications.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: T'Challa does not approve of Killmonger's deeds or goals one bit. However, he does sympathize with his worldview and the pain he went through growing up, especially since Erik is his cousin and T'Challa's father (Killmonger's uncle) was responsible for it. At the end, he brings Erik up to the mountains to see his first Wakandan sunset and offers him medical aid to save his life. Killmonger however refuses, saying he'd rather just be buried at sea rather than spend a life in bondage, just like all his ancestors who jumped from ships crossing the sea, choosing death over slavery.
  • Tainted Veins: T'Challa's veins are tainted purple when he drinks the liquid that takes away his powers.
  • Take a Third Option: T'Challa decides the Villain Has a Point, but refuses to act on Killmonger's ambitions. Instead, he takes the peaceful route of outreach and sharing technology with the world rather than remaining isolated.
  • Take Me Instead: Zuri offers his own life to Erik as recompense for T'Chaka having killed his father and an attempt to get him to spare T'Challa. Killmonger accepts this, but says he's taking both lives.
  • Taking the Bullet: Everett Ross takes one for Nakia when Killmonger interrupts Klaue's interrogation. Thankfully, Wakandan medicine is advanced enough to heal it nearly overnight.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: One step in the museum heist is for a member of the heist crew, undercover as catering staff, to poison the exhibit curator's drink to create a diversion. (And also, it's suggested, to express Killmonger's feelings about white people museums full of artifacts stolen from Africans.)
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Various characters sport ritual scarification; W'Kabi sports markings along his cheekbone, while Killmonger removes his shirt during single combat with T'Challa to reveal extensive scarification across his upper body and down his arms. They represent the people he has killed on his quest for revenge.
  • Tattooed Crook: Klaue still sports numerous tattoos, and he shows that neck brand of his that he got for stealing vibranium.
  • Technician vs. Performer:
    • Erik the technician versus T'Challa the performer. T'Challa has trained all his life to be the Black Panther, but Erik is an experienced elite special ops commando. Erik thus beats him soundly in ritual combat, as T'Challa has far less experience fighting as a Badass Normal. However, once both are enhanced by the Heart-Shaped Herb, T'Challa beats him just as soundly because he actually knows how to use those enhancements; Erik merely fights like a soldier with Super Strength, while T'Challa deliberately chooses ridiculously risky maneuvers such as throwing the both of them off a ledge dozens of stories high because he knows he'll land on his feet.
    • The Jabari Tribe are performers to the rest of Wakanda's technicians. Wakanda is constantly described as the world's most technologically advanced society and have the potential of being Earth's most powerful army thanks to said technology. Meanwhile, the Jabari Tribe are shown to be just as capable without the gadgets and even give the blasters and holographic shield-wielding Wakandans a run for their money with how combative and surprisingly stealthy they can be.
  • Tempting Fate: In the first stinger a member of the UN asks what a third world country like Wakanda could have to offer the world. T'Challa simply flashes him a knowing smile. (Sadly, we then Smash to Black and don't get to see the in-universe reveal.)
  • This Is Unforgivable!: T'Challa is horrified on learning that his father was willing to keep Wakanda's secrecy safe by killing his brother and then abandoning his nephew, a preteen child, in Oakland rather than taking him to Wakanda. There's also the fact that Zuri tells T'Challa that Erik's father was to be summoned back to Wakanda without him, meaning Erik was to be abandoned regardless. T'Challa calls out his father in the spirit plane for doing such a heinous act and it spurs his later decision to reveal the truth about Wakanda to the outside world.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Before Killmonger dies, T'Challa takes him to the top of the mountain so he can finally see the Wakandan sunset that his father used to tell him about when he was younger. He genuinely appreciates it.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Three characters in the twenty-five-years-ago prologue go on to appear in the main part of the story, played by a different actor in each case. There's even a flashback with a younger T'Challa as well. Interestingly, the only character who's the same actor in the past is Klaue, going by a 3D "mug shot".
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The main theme of the movie.
    • T'Challa has to learn that being king and being good are not always the same thing.
    • Since the Dora Milaje are sworn to the throne and not the king, Okoye chooses to be lawful and serves Erik after T'Challa's supposed death, despite the former's violent goals. However, because Erik does not have her personal loyalty, she constantly opposes his will in the council and defects back to T'Challa side the moment he invokes his Loophole Abuse.
  • Token White: The cast is predominantly black with only two prominent white characters — Everett K. Ross and one of the Big Bads Ulysses Klaue (and funnily enough, the teaser trailer starts with a scene between the two of them rather than any black characters). Justified, since Wakanda, being an isolated African country, is primarily black.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • You can spot Killmonger wearing what appears to be the ring T'Challa took from his dead father, which suggests he would become king. In fact, he does, but that ring has nothing to do with it. It's his own father's ring, and it serves to clue T'Challa in to Killmonger's royal connection.
    • The trailers do reveal he obtains his own version of the Black Panther suit at some point.
    • The trailer for Avengers: Infinity War features T'Challa, so anyone who has seen it knows T'Challa survives his Challenging the Chief duel against Killmonger.
  • Translation Convention: The movie is weird about this. The primary language of Wakanda appears to be Xhosa, but the Wakandan characters randomly switch between subtitled Xhosa and English when speaking to each other rather than opting for one or the other. Also, T'Challa, Okoye, Nakia and Shuri all seem to be 100% fluent in English.
  • Trouser Space: Klaue shows up to make his exchange with Ross. He unzips his pants and Klaue is wild and weird enough that it's entirely possible that he could be whipping it out, but he's actually stored the vibranium hammerhead in the crotch of his pants.
  • Trust Password: A wordless version of the trope occurs: anyone who is asked to prove that he is a Wakandan War Dog (a deep cover operative stationed around the world) must simply pull their lower lip, revealing a blue vibranium tattoo.
  • Truth in Television:
    • Killmonger's criticism of the British History Museum, specifically how it obtained all the artifacts within. It is widely accepted that the museum is filled with, effectively, stolen property. British comedian Andy Zaltzman frequently refers to the museum as "an active crime scene."
      Killmonger: Don't worry, I'm gonna take it off your hands for you.
      Museum Curator: ... These items aren't for sale...?
      Killmonger: How do you think your ancestors got them? You think they paid a fair price?
    • When Erik finishes himself off, he pulls the spear out instead of thrusting it deeper. When someone gets stabbed, the safest thing to do is actually leave the weapon in; taking it out will make them bleed to death faster.
    • Many countries have historically had the ability to ritually challenge a monarch when they take the throne; England even still has a Queen's Champion, although the post is now purely nominal (the current holder is a chartered accountant), and the call for challenges hasn't been included, even as empty ceremony, at any coronation ceremony since George IV. Though in most cases, there's technically no rule that says that winning the challenge earns you the throne.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Erik a.k.a. Killmonger was reared both on the streets and through most of the Iraq and Afganistan wars. Thus, his fighting style is more brutal and targets areas like the legs or the waist, wounding his opponents enough that he can freely pound them into submission. T'Challa is genuinely outmatched in a direct fight both times, and only succeeds the second time due to using the pulse from the railways the two are fighting on to disrupt the nanites in both their Black Panther suits, managing to catch Erik off-guard long enough to mortally stab him.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Erik challenges T'Challa for the throne and successfully defeats T'Challa in combat. While T'Challa is presumed dead, Erik becomes the new king of Wakanda, who then proceeds with his plan to use Wakandan technology and weapons to kickstart the African people revolution across the world and create a global Wakandian empire.
  • Unflinching Faith in the Brakes: Towards the end of the film, Okoye stands directly in front of a charging war rhino to prevent it from running someone down—and nature's juggernaut comes to a halt inches in front of her and licks her face. This is probably more "Unflinching Faith in Rhino Loyalty", but the spirit is the same.
  • Unobtainium: Vibranium is a very rare material that can absorb vibrations in shields or catsuits, power vehicles and deflector shields, and propel technological progress centuries ahead of the rest of the world.
  • Verbal Backspace: While debating about Wakanda's isolationist policies with Nakia, T'Challa says she would make a good queen if she wasn't so stubborn. Nakia says she'd be a good queen because she's so stubborn... and then remembers she's supposed to be his ex.
    Nakia: If! If that was what I wanted!
  • Villain Has a Point: Erik Killmonger, much like his father N'Jobu, argues that Wakanda is indirectly responsible for the suffering of Africans in other countries, as it has selfishly withheld access to its advanced technology and refused to intervene to assist them. At the film's end, T'Challa agrees he has a point and was more wrong in his methods than his intentions, and thus begins a program of creating outreach centers in African minority communities, so that they can start using their technology to peacefully help them.
  • Villain Respect: The moment after T'Challa mortally stabs him is the only time Killmonger gives this to T'Challa.
    Killmonger: Hell of a move.
  • Visionary Villain: Killmonger intends to use Wakanda's vibranium to support a worldwide revolution of people of African descent, in order to overthrow their oppressors and create a global empire with himself as emperor.
  • Vision Quest: Upon assuming the mantle of King unopposed, T'Challa is fed the Heart-Shaped Herb and covered in sand, sending his consciousness to the spirit world to hear the words of his father in a vast savannah populated with black panthers. When Killmonger undergoes the same ceremony, his spirit world is the apartment he left behind in America, and his father is in human form the entire conversation, with Erik himself briefly assuming his child self.
  • Wall Run: T'Challa briefly runs over a vertical surface after Klaue knocks him into a building with a blast from his sonic cannon.
  • We Have Reserves: It's mentioned in the movie that part of Wakanda's rationale for its isolationism is the simple mathematics — Wakanda has superior technology, but the rest of the world has vastly superior numbers. This is why T'Challa and his allies are so alarmed when Erik takes the throne and begins planning to make war on the world; they're not sure that Wakanda would survive the intense level of combat, even with their technological advantage. Killmonger is counting, however, on the oppressed of the world joining them to make up the gap.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • N'Jobu became disillusioned with Wakanda isolating itself upon seeing how poorly people of African descent are treated around the world, and arranged for a way to have Klaue ship vibranium out of Wakanda to forge weapons to help fight against the oppression. T'Chaka found out about this and killed N'Jobu, leaving his son Erik to inherit his goals.
    • Subverted with Erik, though, as he admits to T'Challa that he knows the revolution he is attempting could bring ruin to the world and even destroy Wakanda itself, but he doesn't care as he wants the whole world to feel the pain he felt. Race and lineage ultimately don't matter to him, if you oppose him or ally with anyone who opposes him he'll kill you.
  • Wham Line: After receiving the powers of the Black Panther, Erik is given a quick history lesson about the Heart-Shaped Herb... and he tells the priests explaining this to him to burn the garden where it grows.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Those two black gangsters in the "Oakland, 1992" prologue planning their heist? Wakandan spies N'Jobu, brother of King T'Chaka, and Zuri, a Reverse Mole meant to monitor N'Jobu. Once their cover is blown, they revert from their American accents to their native Wakandan accents for the rest of the film.
    • Erik reveals Wakandan markings on his lower lip, revealing his heritage and identity. From the same scene, some literal ones occur as Erik kills not only Klaue, but also his girlfriend, showing that his allegiance and loyalty is to nobody but himself.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: T'Challa gives a vicious one to T'Chaka the second time they meet in the spiritual realm, after knowing the truth that T'Chaka killed his own brother N'Jobu then leaves his son Erik behind in a life of poverty, which leads to Erik's descent into villainy and becomes a great threat to Wakanda and the entire world.
  • What You Are in the Dark: For M'Baku. He rescues T'Challa after he was thrown off a waterfall and placed him on ice in order to keep him alive, despite there being no obvious benefit to him. When Ramonda, Shuri and Nakia come offering him the last remaining Heart-Shaped Herb, which would give him superhuman abilities, he shows them to T'Challa so they can, instead, use the herb to save his life.
  • White Man's Burden: An inversion of this is one of Killmonger's, and to a lesser degree his father's, main motivations of trying to Take Over the World: the world would be better under Wakandan control and they could run it the 'right' way, particularly for those of African ancestry outside Wakanda. The irony of the title and its origins are not lost on the characters In-Universe, as T'Challa points out Killmonger has become Not So Different from the colonists using that justification who he hates so much.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: After his father, a Wakandan prince, is murdered, Erik is abandoned by his royal uncle to a life in poverty. He then grows up to become Killmonger, a bloodthirsty mercenary who dethrones his cousin to become king of Wakanda and plans to use advanced Wakandan technology to overthrow all the world governments.
  • Working with the Ex: T'Challa and Nakia were lovers in the past and it's clear that he still has some feelings for her, which is teased by many characters in the film. By the end of the movie, they finally got back together.
  • You Are What You Hate: During the Final Battle, T'Challa points out that Killmonger intends to turn Wakanda into exactly the thing he and his father hated the most: the oppressive colonists enslaving other races.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Killmonger has plenty of allies to aid him in his bid to overthrow Wakanda, but he also has no qualms about killing them if they get in the way of those plans. Just ask his girlfriend.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • The reason W'Kabi is so adamant about Klaue's death or incarceration is because his parents were killed in Klaue's attack on Wakanda.
    • This is Killmonger's primary reason for wanting revenge against the Wakandan royal family — T'Chaka killed his father, N'Jobu.
  • You Will Be Spared: Subverted during the raid on the London museum. Klaue and Killmonger have finished gunning down all the security personnel present when the former gives the last surviving member the opportunity to run, then shoots him when his back is turned in a display of pragmatism. Leaving the corpses more spread out apparently makes it resemble the work of amateurs.

Love, let's talk about love.
Is it anything and everything you hoped for?
Or do the feeling haunt you?
I know the feeling haunt you.

Alternative Title(s): Black Panther

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