Rumors of a Black Panther appearance in the Avengers sequel have persisted for some time now, and though Marvel's word on the character is merely that they're developing a movie for him, fans are still holding out hope that we'll see T'Challa alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes next year, particularly since we know that South Africa was one of the locations where the production filmed. Yesterday, the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron finally arrived, and it didn't take long for fans to see what could be hints of Black Panther's arrival in the footage.
First, there's this little shot of what seems to be Ultron's hand emerging from a molten substance.
Now, that could be a lot of things, but given that the powerful metal known as Vibranium has already been introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe via Captain America: The First Avenger, it's been speculated that this is a shot of Ultron coating his own body in the stuff to make his metal frame basically invincible. It seems like a smart supervillain move, Vibranium's already a part of the universe, and we know the film shot in South Africa. And of course, in the Marvel Universe, Vibranium only comes from one place: the African nation of Wakanda. So there's potential clue number one.
Potential clue number two is the brief appearance of Andy Serkis in the trailer. Serkis' role in the film has been kept secret ever since he was cast, and it's still secret, but fans were quick to point out that his trailer look does bear a striking resemblance to that of Marvel villain and Black Panther archnemesis Ulysses Klaw. Check out a side-by-side comparison:
Again, this isn't proof positive of anything. Guy-with-beard-and-khaki-shirt does not automatically equal Ulysses Klaw, but again, we do have the South Africa connection to the film, and the potential for Vibranium. In the comics, Klaw has been known to steal Vibranium and Vibranium-related technology, so perhaps he'll make his entrance that way, maybe even as an aid to Ultron. And of course, if Serkis is playing Klaw, T'Challa can't be far behind ...
In the end, this all might amount to nothing more than wishful thinking on the part of eagle-eyed viewers, but it could also really be Marvel's way of incorporating Wakanda, and its king, into the cinematic universe. We'll see if more clues pop up as the Age of Ultron marketing machine begins to roll forward. In the meantime, though, what do you think? Plausible?