The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to enjoy its recent expansions with the latest release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. The box office continues to bring in monster ticket sales in a joint effort with Sony to relaunch the Spider-Man franchise after introducing the web slinger to the MCU last summer in Captain America: Civil War. But fans are getting plenty hyped for the first feature film starring the other newcomer to the MCU introduced in the film: Black Panther.

Black Panther takes the cover of this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly and is expected to be a big draw on the Comic-Con stage. After making a stellar debut in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War and after witnessing the first trailer for the movie, the hype machine is in full motion now for the upcoming film. We should expect to learn even more about the film at Comic-Con, but EW is giving us a sneak peek at the premise for the plot.

The film will reportedly focus on turmoil from within the nation of Wakanda, Black Panther’s homeland. Michael B. Jordan is playing the role of Erik Killmonger, who has traditionally been one to challenge for the throne now held by T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the Black Panther’s alter ego. In the film, Killmonger is set to team up with Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis, who was introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron), the man who steals Wakanda’s secret commodity, Vibranium, and sells to the highest bidder.

But motives by characters could lead to a bit of confusion over who exactly is the hero and who is the real villain. And this being a superhero movie, there could be another party involved yet to be revealed as the true antagonist.

“In this movie, a lot like politics, it’s a little tricky to define who’s [a good guy],” director and co-writer Ryan Coogler said to EW. “The film very much plays with those concepts, looking at conflicts and different motivations, and who’s with who.”

How this story will fit into the expanded world of the MCU? It could be more focused on an isolated corner of the world, at a distance from the other MCU heroes in existence. That is something Spider-Man: Homecoming did to a very small degree, but was clearly connected to the world of The Avengers. Given the character of Black Panther, it seems likely the story will keep its distance from the rest of the MCU as much as possible.

 

There is still one more MCU film to hit theaters before we get to Black Panther, which helps support the case to be made that Black Panther may be one of the more anticipated movies to hit the MCU outside of The Avengers films. Thor: Ragnarok is coming out this November. While not to suggest that film is being completely overlooked in the grand scheme of things, it is the third installment in the Thor series on film. While still a wonder to soak in, visually, we have seen Asgard before. We have seen that cast of characters before. Heck, we’ve even seen the Hulk in multiple films by now. Black Panther is opening up the MCU to a world we have only caught a brief glimpse of in a post-credit scene from Civil War. But more importantly, it shifts the focus to a new culture entirely.

Black Panther is scheduled to be released on Feb. 16, 2018.

[Entertainment Weekly]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.