Could ‘Black Panther’ herald the beginning of a grittier Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Deputy Entertainment Editor
09.06.16

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All”s quiet on the superhero film front. For now. 2016 has almost birthed her last addition to the Marvel franchise. Doctor Strange will enter the world on November 6 and then the baton will pass to 2017 for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok. Then in 2018, Black Panther will hit theaters in February before everything culminates (temporarily) in Avengers: Infinity War.

Marvel is basically the Duggars of filmmaking at this point.

With five films remaining before the next big Avengers ‘event,” the MCU is now tasked with moving the plot towards what is hopefully a showdown with Thanos. Spider-Man is the wildcard, but all other movies in Marvel”s roster deal with space and magic, two key components to getting the rumble with Thanos going. Each film should also get progressively more serious, as the stakes are higher than ever. Despite the quips, Captain America: Civil War dealt with heavy themes of trust, betrayal, and forgiveness. Not to mention the quagmire that is ‘Is Bucky responsible for the atrocities he committed as the Winter Soldier?”

For those that have been waiting for Marvel to shed the veneer of primary-colored playfulness for a more serious tone, your time is coming. Chadwick Boseman recently spoke to CBR about what fans can expect from his solo Black Panther movie. While Boseman loves the fun of films like Ant-Man, T”Challa life leans more into the darkness.

“I”m glad that the tone of [“Black Panther”] may be a little grittier. I just wanted to establish that from the beginning, that that”s what we were doing. That that”s what I intend to do.”

That makes sense within the framework of the narrative Marvel is establishing; a world where many of the original Avengers could lay dead at Thanos” feet if Tony”s vision was true. We still don”t know what the plot of Black Panther will be (though it will probably involve Bucky at least a little bit if I had to guess), but nothing about where the MCU is headed looks like happy sunshine funtimes. But what if the ultimate goal of introducing Wakanda into the MCU at this particular point in time is heralding something bigger? Something like Thane?

Thane is the inhuman son of Thanos, who first appeared in New Avengers Vol 3 #10 back in 2013. During the Infinity event, Thanos is on the hunt for his son, all under the guise of galactic domination. Things come to a head in Wakanda when Thanos is led to believe Thane is residing in the African country. Could the it be? Has Thanos spent nearly a real-life decade collecting Infinity Gems, not to take over the world, but to find his only son? Talk about the long con…

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