Though Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa may be the ruler of Wakanda in Black Panther, that doesn’t mean he’s the only leader — or that everyone agrees with his ideals. In an interview with ComicBook.com, Winston Duke discussed how his character M’Baku and his tribe are at odds with T’Challa and basically all of Wakanda.
As promised several times before, Black Panther will be unlike any MCU movie before it. It’s already been said to inject a James Bond vibe to it with themes from The Godfather. It even seems to be bringing in some Game of Thrones elements now. The nation of Wakanda is split among several tribes. With each tribe, comes its own leader. In this case, M’Baku leads the Jabari tribe.
Ideally, all tribes work in harmony and follow the rule of T’Challa — but things are not that simple according to Duke.
“Well, M’Baku is the charismatic young leader of the Jabari tribe,” ha said, “And the Jabari tribe is one of Wakanda’s main tribes. They’ve removed themselves from the mainstream Wakandan society and they don’t really believe in the importance of vibranium to the movement of the country forward. That puts them at odds with how the country is ruled and everyone else, for the most part.”
Despite the fairly recent passing of T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War, it seems as though his presence will still be felt in Black Panther through T’Challa’s taking of the mantle as king. This is where political and potentially religious tension come from the Jabari.
“M’Baku and the Jabari didn’t believe in the direction that T’Chaka was pushing the country and T’Challa is a continuation of that same plan and idea and worldview,” Duke said. “So that immediately puts him at odds.”
At face value, that seems more political than anything. In Marvel Comics however, M’Baku and the Jabari do not worship the Panther God and instead a different sacred animal called the White Gorilla — an act outlawed in Wakanda. This leads to M’Baku killing a rare white gorilla, eating it and bathing in its blood to eventually become the villainous Man-Ape.
There’s something you won’t get in any James Bond movie. Whether or not that’s how it goes down in Black Panther is a mystery and like any good MCU professional, Duke can only tease fans to his potential look/transformation.
“I think you’re going to have to wait and see.” He said.
Black Panther strikes on February 16, 2018. The movie will feature a cast that includes Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (Black Panther), Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Forest Whitaker as Zuri, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, John Kani as T’Chaka, Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Kilmonger, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, and Winston Duke as M’Baku (Man-Ape). In addition, Atandwa Kani has been cast in an unspecified role.