Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel: Marvel's next phase of Cinematic Superheroes
On October 28, 2014, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced the upcoming schedule for Phase 3 of Marvel's films. In addition to the sequels to their previous films, he announced films starring new characters: Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. Comic book fans were thrilled, but naturally, there are those who are not comic readers and might want to know a little bit about these characters and how they relate to the rest of the established universe.
Doctor Steven Strange was one of the world's leading neurosurgeons... and he knew it. His ego and arrogance rivaled Tony Stark's, but that all changed when he was involved in a car accident. Strange survived, but the accident shattered the bones in his hands. He could no longer function as a surgeon because his hands trembled.
He looked for a way to cure his hands, spending most of his fortune. Desperate, he travels to the Himalayas in search of The Ancient One. The Ancient One is Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, but he refuses to help the selfish Strange. He does sense a hint of goodness in the Doctor and he is proven correct when Strange discovers and twarts an assassination attempt by The Ancient One's disciple, Baron Mordo.
The Ancient One takes on Strange as a student, and while he can not heal Strange's hands, he teaches him the mystic arts. Strange moves back to New York and takes up residence in Greenwich Village, his Sanctum Sanctotum.
He is a part of a loose team of heroes called The Defenders. The core group consists of Strange, the Hulk, The Submariner, and the Silver Surfer.
He is the master of various spells, such as releasing his astral form, creating illusions and becoming invisible. He also wields seveal mystical objects: the Cloak of Levatation allows him to fly, the Eye of Agamotto whose light is used to negate evil magic, the Book of the Vishanti which contains knowledge of white magic, and the Orb of Agamotto which is used as a crystal ball.
Steven Strange will be played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Ancient One
The Ancient One is over 500 years old. Born a Tibetan farmer, he discovered magic and wandered the Earth, acquiring knowledge and artifacts eventually becoming Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. He trains Doctor Strange in the mysic arts, bestowing the title of Sorcerer Supreme after the death of his physical body.
The Ancient One will be played by Tilda Swinton
Strange is assisted in New York by Wong. Wong's family has served the Ancient One for ten generations. The Ancient One sent Wong to New York to serve Strange. Although Wong has no mystical power on his own, he assists Strange on several occasions. He is also an accomplished martial artist. He has yet to be cast.
Baron Karl Amadeus Mordo was The Ancient One's top student until he tried to kill his master and stopped by Strange. Although he has similar powers and training as Doctor Strange, he is also particularly adept at astral projection and hypnosis. He also has no qualms about using black magic, unlike Strange.
Mordo will be played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Mordo is in league with Dormammu, the powerful ruler of the Dark Dimension. Dorammu is composed entirely of mystical energy allowing him to perform almost anything he can concieve, including energy projection, matter manipulation, teleportation, possession and necromancy among other abilities. He is Doctor Strange's greatest foe. He has not yet been cast as of this writing, but it has been rumored that Marvel is in discussions with "Hannibal" actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Doctor Strange's ally against Dormammu is Clea, who happens to be Dormammu's niece. She is a powerful sorcerer in her own right, but she becomes Strange's disciple and lover. She has yet to be cast, but Rachel McAdams is rumored to be in talks.
Doctor Strange animated film
To understand who Black Panther is, you first need to know about the nation of Wakanda. Wakanda is a fictional nation in Africa. The exact location has varied throughout the years, depending on the writer. Sometimes it is near Tanzania, sometimes near Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Thousands of years ago a massive meteorite crashed in Wakanda. It was made up of Vibranium, the sound-absorbing metal that movie goers will recognize as the metal in Captain America's shield.
Over the years, the radiation has permeated much of Wakanda's flora and fauna, including the Heart-Shaped Herb eaten by members of the Black Panther Cult and the flesh of the White Gorilla eaten by the members of the White Gorilla Cult.
Wakanda has always been an isolated nation, never conquered. After the discovery of the Vibranium meteor, the leader of Wakanda, T'Chaka, decided to restrict visitors to his country to avoid outside exploitation. In addition, he sent his counry's best scholars to study abroad, bringing their knowledge back to Wakanda, allowing it to become a technologically advanced nation.
Since Wakanda technology has developed independently from the rest of the world, it is often incompatible and superior to outside technology. Their computers can not be hacked due to incompatible operating systems, but are able to hack outside computers.
Wakanda developed many cults, the two most prominent are the Black Panther and the White Gorilla cults.
The first leader of the Black Panther cult, Bashenga, closed off the vibranium mound thousands of years ago to protect the people from the effects of the radiation. Throughout the years, the chief of the Black Panter tribe is permitted to use the heart-shaped herb, giving those who consume it near-superhuman levels, similar to the super soldier serum. Their rival cult, the White Gorilla, consume the flesh of their namesake, giving them similar attributes
The Black Panther
T'Chaka, the nation's leader, was targeted for assassination. A Western outsider, Ulysses Klaw was successful in smuggling vibranium out of Wakanda, and developed a sonic weapon which he uses to kill T'Chaka. His son T'Challa used Klaw's sound weapon on Klaw and his men, shattering his right hand and forcing him to flee. Before he is old enough to contend for the throne, he leaves Wakanda on his traditional walkabout rite of passage. He meets and falls in love with a teenage Ororo Munroe, who would grow up to become the X-Men member Storm.
T'Challa earned the title and attributes of the Black Panther by defeating the various champions of the Wakandan tribes. He is a skilled hunter, tracker, strategist, politician, scientist, and inventor, later inventing the Avengers' quinjet.
In his first appearance, T'Challa invites the American superhero team the Fantastic Four to Wakanda, for the purpose of testing himself to see if he is ready to battle Klaw, who had replaced his shattered right hand with a sonic weapon. Afterwards, he joins the Avengers, and marries Storm.
Chadwick Boseman will portray T'Challa in the film and other projects. Andy Serkis has already played Ulysses Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Black Panther animated series
There have been many characters who have gone by the name Captain Marvel, but the film is going to star the character known as Carol Danvers.
The original Captain Marvel was a Kree spy named Mar-Vell , sent to Earth and to determine if it is a threat to the Kree empire. He assumes the identity of a recently deceased scientist named Walter Lawson, and becomes a superhero, inspired by the humans he encountered. During his adventures, he came in contact with Compound-13, a carcinogen, to which he eventually succumbed, but not before passing on his legacy.
Carol Danvers is first introduced as an officer in the United States Air Force where she meets Mar-Vell in his idenity as Dr. Lawson. She accompanies him on his adventures, and is injured in an explosion of a device called a "Psyche-Magnetron" causing Danvers's genetic structure to meld with Mar-Vell's, turning her into a human-Kree hybrid.
Danvers takes on the name Ms. Marvel, possessing superhuman strength and endurance, and the ability to fly. She joins the Avengers.
Her history is not without controvery. In The Avengers #200, written by Jim Shooter, Ms. Marvel is kidnapped by a character named Marcus and taken to an alternate dimension, where she is brainwashed, seduced, and impregnated. She gives birth on Earth to a child that rapidly ages into another version of Marcus. He takes her back to his home without any opposition from the rest of the team, believing the two to be in love. Comic book historian Carol A. Strickland criticized the storyline in an essay titled "The Rape of Ms. Marvel."
X-Men author Chris Claremont, addressed the story in Avengers Annual #10. Danvers is revealed to have returned to Earth, but is attacked by the mutant Rogue, who permanently absorbs the character's abilities and memories. Left in a blank state, she is helped by Charles Xaiver. She takes the Avengers to task, shaming them for their actions.
Danvers is kidnapped along with the rest of the X-Men and experimented on by an alien race known as the Brood, triggering a mutation of her former powers. Able to draw upon the power of a "white hole," she calls herself "Binary." She joins the Starjammers, galatic pirates, but eventually returns to Earth, rejoining the Avengers under a the new name of Warbird, although she soon resumed the name Ms. Marvel. Soon after, she was encouraged by Captain America to assume the mantle of Captain Marvel.
Carol's legacy is passed on. A young teen named Kamala Khan gains shapeshifting ability due to her exposure to Terrigen Mists, activating the Inhuman gene within her. She calls herself Ms. Marvel, after her hero.
The new design and direction has been very popular with fans, calling themselves the "Carol Corps." The new costume is already a cosplay favorite. The role of Carol Danvers has not been cast for the film yet.