Forest Whitaker’s Zuri Will Offer Spirituality And Guidance To Black Panther; Director Ryan Coogler Talks T’Challa’s Powers


Wakanda is a thriving, cutting-edge nation filled with colorful characters.

Take Zuri, for instance, he’s the quasi-father figure to Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther who will bring a sense of spirituality and guidance to the table early next year. Forest Whitaker is attached to the part – a testimony to the film’s remarkable ensemble cast – and as part of the outlet’s in-depth trailer analysis, EW caught up with the Oscar-winner to discuss his nuanced role in Marvel and Ryan Coogler’s upcoming origin story. He’s the Obi-Wan to Panther‘s Luke Skywalker, essentially.

He’s somewhat a religious figure or spiritual figure. Spirituality is something that exists in Wakanda in the comics, and it’s something we wanted to have elements of in the film. Forest’s character, more than anything, is a major tie-back to T’Challa’s father. Zuri is someone he looks to for guidance.

Following the events of Civil War – specifically the moment in which Boseman’s heir lost his father, T’Chaka – Black Panther will place a heavy emphasis on the bustling nation of Wakanda, and based on last week’s reveal trailer, Marvel is bringing all of its VFX knowledge to bear in order to render such an iconic, vibrant locale.

In a separate interview with EW, writer-director Ryan Coogler was joined by Kevin Feige, head honcho at Marvel and one of the more prominent architects behind the MCU. When the conversation veered toward Black Panther in particular, the latter spoke about the Heart-Shaped Herb and how it bestows great power upon T’Challa.

People who read the comics would be familiar with the Heart-Shaped Herb and the ceremonies that surround that. That’s partially spiritual. We certainly don’t call it magic, but there’s Vibranium that has been interwoven within that soil and that land for thousands of years, so there are other things going on with it.

Coogler echoed that sentiment by highlighting the moment in which Chadwick Boseman’s would-be king wrangles with his enhanced abilities.

The Heart-Shaped Herb is how Black Panther achieves his powers. He can fight hand-to-hand with Cap, who’s a supersoldier, so he has super strength and heightened instincts that give him his enhanced abilities.

Marvel rolled out the wondrous first teaser for Black Panther late last week, and if it’s a frame-by-frame analysis you’re after, look no further than our own recap, which presents eight important moments featuring T’Challa, Ulysses Klaue, and much more.

Source: EW

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