T’Chaka (Black Panther)

t'chakafilmCaptain America: Civil War is in theaters… and it’s quite a blast. There are some characters appearing in the movie who we still have to speak about, and we’ll start today… but be warned, there may be some spoilers. Let’s start with the King of Wakanda, the elder T’Chaka, portrayed by John Kani. After his nation’s Vibranium has been stolen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, King T’Chaka started a new policy to allow Wakanda to come out of his self-imposed isolation… unfortunately, he’s immediately killed during a bomb attack at the UNO, and that’s where his son steps in, triggering quite a lot of events that lead to a massive clash among superheroes. In the comics, T’Chaka dies as well just at the beginning of T’Challa‘s story, but many flashbacks gave us quite an extensive look at his deeds as a young prince and then king. Let’s see together.

T’Chaka was born in Wakanda, the first son of King Azzuri the Wise. As the crown prince, T’Chaka studied the traditions of his people and nation, and since a very young age he committed himself to protect Wakanda and its sacred metal Vibranium. In his training to become king, T’Chaka excelled in the ways of the warrior, and became an excellent combatant, even stronger than his father; he also dedicated himself to the Old Ways, the ancient magic of his country, distancing himself with the growing technological progress in Wakanda. This conservative position gained him the appreciation of part of the population, among which the witch doctor Zawavari, a shaman who became one of his loyalists. When his younger brother, S’Yan, was born, T’Chaka became also his mentor, and kept studying for becoming king. Despite being an isolated nation, Wakanda was often the target of foreigner powers, and in 1941 that Nazis targeted it in the persons of the Red Skull and Baron Strucker: to protect the country and aid King Azzuri in dealing with the invaders, Captain AmericaSgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos arrived in the nation, allying themselves with King Azzuri and Prince T’Chaka. The two Nazi commanders had brought with t'chakacomics1them three supersoldiers, Master ManWarrior Woman and the Armless Tiger Man, and the battle soon escalated to worrying proportions, especially considering that the Skull had obtained the alliance of the White Gorillas, a Wakandian tribe who constantly fought against the crown. The Armless Tiger Man also took T’Chaka hostage, and threatened to kill him if all the Vibranium of the country wasn’t delivered to the Nazis. However, despite being heavily outnumbered, the Howling Commandos managed to repel the Nazi forces, and T’Chaka was saved. Red Skull and Strucker were defeated and repelled, and the country was free again: T’Chaka, however, learned a hard lesson about his preparation, and trained even more, knowing that in the outside world there were many formidable warriors, and that some of them weren’t exactly friendly.

When Azzuri died, T’Chaka inherited both the throne and the title of Black Panther, Wakanda’s mighty protector. The coronation ceremony had Zawavari imbue the prince with the powers of the Panther God, giving him superhuman feats: because of his prowess in combat and his amazing strength, the new king was called T’Chaka the Great. In his first years of rule, Captain America came back to Wakanda to visit his former allies, and curious about the metal the Red Skull was looking for. This new meeting between the Captain and the Black Panther wasn’t exactly peaceful, and T’Chaka treated his savior as any other invader, fighting him and even defeating him in hand-to-hand combat. Eventually, however, Cap managed to win back the trust of the inexperienced king, and the two renewed their alliance, and even friendship. As a sign of trust, T’Chaka gave Cap a piece of priceless Vibranium, and the American made T’Chaka a gift as well, giving him his triangular shield. When his new friend left the country, T’Chaka came back to his duties as a king, and he finally chose a wife in N’Yami. When a plane crashed in Wakanda, killing its two occupants, the scouts found a baby still alive between the wracks: an orphan alone in the world, the white kid was seen with suspect by the xenophobic residents, and T’Chaka, in order to protect him and to make his people change their view on him, chose to adopt him, renaming him Hunter and t'chakacomics2making him a prince. When N’Yami became pregnant with his biological son, however, Hunter obviously lost his right to the throne, but he nevertheless had grown to love Wakanda and its people. N’Yami gave birth to T’Challa, the crown prince, but she died of labor; after her, T’Chaka married two other women, the first of which gave him another son, Jakarra, while the second one, Ramonda, gave him a daughter, Shuri. In 1959, the king was kidnapped by the organization ICON to make it easier for pillagers to attack Wakanda: Fury arrived to save his old ally, leading a team of Avengers against ICON, and then sending Eric Koenig and Dum-Dum Dugan to Latveria to save the captive king. These continuous interactions with the outside world slowly started to change T’Chaka’s perspective on isolation… even if he still didn’t dare to put it into discussion.

T’Chaka is a proud and noble king, an incredibly intelligent and remarkably wise man who dedicated his entire life to serve his country and people. Severe and serious, he leads Wakanda embracing the old traditions and maintaining its isolation from the rest of the world, albeit he can tell friends from foes when it comes to strangers, differently from most of his countrymen. As the Black Panther, he possesses enhanced senses, superhuman strength, agility, speed, durability and stamina; he’s also an extremely skilled martial artist, a master of all known weapons, a skilled tactician and hunter, a multilingual diplomat and a charismatic leader. T’Chaka embodies the values, the traditions and the history (as well as the mistrust…) of Wakanda, and he’s ready to give his very life to protect his people and his country.