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Watch: Video game Avengers gear up for biggest expansion yet with Black Panther and the 'War for Wakanda'

By Benjamin Bullard
Black Panther War for Wakanda

Since kicking things off with Kamala Khan and company last year, Marvel’s Avengers has been steadily adding more familiar MCU faces to its post-launch gaming roster. But the big new Black Panther-themed expansion, set to arrive this week, is bringing an entire superhero entourage — led from the front, of course, by King T’Challa himself.

Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics are showing off Black Panther’s swoopy moves in a new cinematic story trailer that pits him against an old movie nemesis. At least he’ll have plenty of help: the new War for Wakanda expansion, easily the biggest content addition since the game launched in the summer of 2020, enlists some powered-up tech help from lil’ sister Shuri…plus the Vibranium-tough aid of the Dora Milaje, who turn out in force to put Klaue back in his place.

Check it out:

There’s not much fun in bringing Black Panther to the Avengers assembly unless you can unleash his unique moves, and sure enough, the studio teases that King T’Challa’s playable character will play like no other in the game’s nine-hero lineup. Just as you’d expect, he’s fierce in melee combat, and can pounce from huge distances like his namesake spirit animal to close the gap against enemies.

War for Wakanda continues Square Enix's theme of recreating Marvel’s heroes in a way that complements, rather than mimics, their MCU screen counterparts. Christopher Judge — the same actor who brought nuance to Kratos’ gruff voice in 2018’s God of War and spent a decade on Stargate SG-1 — does the voice acting honors for T’Challa in the new DLC, and he was determined to deliver a performance that wouldn’t cast a shadow over the late Chadwick Boseman’s big-screen Black Panther portrayal.

“I said from the outset that this had to be my interpretation of it, not only because of Chadwick's towering sweeping portrayal, but also this is a different media,” Judge told IGN. “This is a different take on it and it's not at the same stage in T'Challa's life as the movie was.”

Still, there’s no better way to act like Black Panther than to become Black Panther (or at least try your best), and Judge confessed he went to pretty crazy lengths to amp up his body, as well as his mind, to get in full character.

“The first thing I did was lose weight because the previous character I played [Kratos] was a big hulking [guy] and so, I put on probably 25, 30 pounds of muscle probably,” he said. “So I tried to strip all of that away in a very short time, not all of it, but I wanted him to be light and agile. And to me, for my instrument to also sound like that, I kind of had to physically be it, so that was along with learning the dialect.”

From T’Challa to Shuri to big bad Klaue himself, the trailer performances definitely aren’t letting their MCU counterparts down. Catch the studio’s War Table video preview for everything included in War for Wakanda, and then catch the biggest add-on yet for Marvel’s Avengers when the completely free DLC expansion arrives on Aug. 17 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and PC.