Brush Up On Your Wakandan History With This Family Tree Before Seeing 'Black Panther'

by Ani Bundel

One of the reasons that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has risen in popularity is that every story comes complete with a long history, many of which are part of the comic book lines the stories are taken from. Black Panther is no exception. While Wakanda was only first mentioned in the movie world in Captain America: Civil War, the history of the African nation has been fleshed out on the page all the way back to World War II. For those who haven't followed to comics, Marvel has released a short video on the Black Panther family tree to help the audience understand the relationships between the many characters we'll be meeting on screen.

Some of these people we've already met. T'Chaka, for instance, was the King of Wakanda in Civil War, and it was he who chose to support the Sokovia Accords, and to travel to the UN to make a public appearance on the behalf of their signing, and also to speak on the subject of Vibranium, which has been used for the creation of deadly weaponry. It was he who audiences saw murdered at the UN, with most assuming it was the work of the Winter Soldier.

His son, T'Challa was also in attendance, and after his father's passing revealed himself to be the Black Panther. At first, he was part of Team Iron Man, following in his father's footsteps in supporting the Accords, and believing the Winter Soldier to be guilty. But by the end of the adventure, he learned this was merely a set-up, and the actual guilty party was Helmut Zero, and agreed to help Captain America, and assist with deprogramming Bucky Barnes so that he would no longer be the Winter Solider.

But that's only scratching the surface. Let's look at the lineage that made T'Challa king.

What the video doesn't dive into is that this one actually one of several sects inside Wakanda, the "Panther Cult" as they are known. Founded by Bashenga, they are actually one of many cults devoted to Heliopolitan deities (aka Egyptian gods.) Other sects we may see in the film pulled from the comics (or at least referenced).

  • White Gorilla Cult: The image above from the trailer has been identified as most likely one from the White Gorilla Cult, suggesting we will see at least this sect.
  • Lion Cult
  • Crocodile Cult

Some other points of interest from this video that fans should keep in their memory banks:

The Dora Milaje


We already met one member (Ayo) in Civil War, where she and Black Widow sized each other up pretty well before Romanoff decided to stand down. Nakia has been heavily featured in the trailers, she'll be played by Lupita Nyong'o. Okoye, the leader of this fighting force is played by Danai Gurira, and her face is also one heavily featured on the posters.

The Members Of T'Challa's Immediate Family


His family isn't just Shuri, though his half-sister is supposedly the inventor genius of the family and an extremely important character in her own right. There's also his step-mother, who is also the Queen Mother now that her husband has passed, Ramonda (Angela Bassett, pictured above.)

And there's an adopted Caucasian brother in the comics named Hunter. No sign of him in the trailers thus far, but most would do well to think of him as the Tom Hagen of the family, a sort of consigliere to the royal family of Wakanda.

Plus the mysterious half-sibling Jakkara. Yes, the drawing looks a little bit like Deadpool, but don't be fooled. This character is anything but funny if he turns up.

Black Panther arrives in theaters everywhere on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.