There are about a million and a half reasons why Wakanda is one of the most unique and important places within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the most prominent is Vibranium, the insanely powerful metal that is only found there. Now that viewers are finally entering Wakanda on the big screen in Black Panther, we are also about to learn so much more about the mysterious substance that drives so many Marvel heroes and villains. We've already seen Vibranium in the MCU before, though, so you don't have to wonder what is Vibranium in Black Panther as you walk into the movie theater. Before you check out Black Panther, you're going to want a refresher on Vibranium and where it has already popped up in previous Marvel movies, so let's get into it.
What is Vibranium?
First let's cover the basics. Vibranium is considered the strongest substance in the world, which is the main reason it is so sought after. Along with its unparalleled durability, Vibranium can also absorb all vibrations and kinetic energy directed at it.
Who uses Vibranium?
Vibranium is a critical element in how a number of Marvel heroes and villains we have already seen in the movies fight. Most notably, Captain America's shield is made from Vibranium, which explains why it is indestructible.
Vision, the android that Ultron makes in Avengers: Age of Ultron, is also made completely out of Vibranium. As we saw in the Avengers sequel, Ultron bought Vibranium from the smuggler Ulysses Klaue, who stole a chunk of it from Wakanda. Ultron then used the Mind Stone to control genetic scientist Helen Cho, forcing her to turn the Vibranium into an android body for him. But before Ultron could enter the Vibranium body, the Avengers stole it, and the Mind Stone fused with it to bring to life their new ally Vision.
Finally, and most importantly in terms of Black Panther, King T'Challa Black Panther suit is made of Vibranium. Viewers have already seen what Black Panther can do in Captain America: Civil War, but we will see even more of how Vibranium and the Black Panther interact in Black Panther.
Where have we seen Vibranium already?
The first instance of Vibranium in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Captain America's shield, which was introduced in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. We did not get much information about the substance when Tony Stark gifted Captain America with his iconic Vibranium shield, just that it was a rare and nearly indestructible metal.
Vibranium's most notable appearance was prior to Black Panther was in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. The substance was central to Ultron's plans to both improve his artificial body and also to execute his destruction of Earth. Ultron bought Vibranium from the smuggler Ulysses Klaue, who claims to be the only non-Wakandan to ever make it out of the African country alive. Ultron then uses the Vibranium to build an android body for himself (which is later stolen and becomes Vision), and to contruct an engine to lift Sokovia into the air and create a meteorite intended to destroy Earth.
Finally, Vibranium made a subtle appearance in Captain America: Civil War since Black Panther's suit is made from the substance.
How will Vibranium be part of Black Panther?
Vibranium may have only made a couple of appearances in the past Marvel movies, but it is absolutely central to the plot and world of Black Panther. Wakanda is the only known place in the MCU where Vibranium is naturally found, and it is the source of the country's vast power and technology, even though that power and tech remain hidden from the rest of the world as Wakanda pretends to be a struggling Third-World nation to everyone else. One of the main conflicts that arises in Black Panther is a debate over whether Wakanda should share its Vibranium resources with the rest of the world or continue to keep their vast stores of the metal to themselves.