Fathers And Sons
Black Panther‘s opening checks in on the family feud between the late King T’Chaka and his brother N’Jobu, when the latter was revealed to have conspired with Ulysses Klaue to smuggle Vibranium out of Wakanda. If you thought the actor playing the young T’Chaka looked a lot like John Kani, who plays the older king, there’s a reason for that. It’s Atandwa Kani, the real life son of John. It’s also a nice bonus that Atandwa looks a lot like his on-screen son, Chadwick Boseman.
If you check the credits, you’ll also see that the young Zuri is played by Denzel Whitaker. So, did they pull the same trick with this character and get a relative of Forest Whitaker to play his younger self? Funnily enough, no, it’s just a coincidence that the two actors playing the same character have the same name.
That said, Denzel Whittaker did play Forest’s son in 2007’s The Great Debaters. Which, if you want to complicate it even further, also starred Denzel Washington, who Whitaker’s named after. Still with us?
Black Panther To The Future
When T’Challa goes to his sister Shuri to get his new gear, she shows him some prototype shoes that form around his feet. She says that she got the idea from “an old American movie” that their father, King T’Chaka, used to watch a lot.
As far as we can tell, this is a nod to the iconic self-lacing sneakers from 1989’s Back to the Future Part II. If you’re thinking that the film isn’t that old, then remember that Peter Parker called 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back a “really old movie” back in Captain America: Civil War.
There’s potentially another unlikely reference as well when Shuri looks horrified at T’Challa’s sandals. “What are those?” she asks him. This is very reminiscent of that viral video where the guy asks a cop about his choice of footwear.