Marvel's Kevin Feige explains how Black Panther fits in Captain America: Civil War

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Jun 30, 2015, 10:26 AM EDT

From the outside, Captain America: Civil War is kind of starting to look like a cameo-fest that is essentially Avengers 2.5 -- but Marvel’s Kevin Feige promises there’s a method to the madness. Just look at the curious case of Black Panther.

In a chat with Birth. Movies. Death., Feige opened up about the decision to introduce Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in Civil War. Though it might seem like Marvel is just taking an easy route to establish the character in a blockbuster movie before his solo outing scheduled for 2018, Feige said there’s a distinct method to the madness when it comes to T’Challa. Basically: They needed a new hero with no allegiances to either Cap or Iron Man, to provide a middle ground in the conflict between the two.

It also sounds like (not surprisingly) the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron will play a key role in bringing Black Panther out of his homeland of Wakanda. The plot of Age of Ultron focused on some Vibranium (which is only found in Wakanda) causing havoc, and Feige teased that incident might lead T’Challa to venture out and see what’s going on in the world. Since Age of Ultron went so far as to namedrop Wakanda, you had to know they were planting those seeds.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

"The reason we introduced him in Civil War is because we needed a third party. We needed fresh eyes who wasn’t embedded with the Avengers and who has a very different point of view than either Tony or Steve. We said, ‘We need somebody like Black Panther ... why don’t we just use Black Panther?’ That’s how it went in the development process.

Today, pre-Civil War, post-Ultron I think [the Black Panther] and his father are saying, ‘A bunch of vibranium just got out of here and wreaked a lot of havoc. Maybe we can’t stay behind these borders anymore, maybe we have to stick our heads out and make at least an attempt to be a part of the rest of the world right now, while at the same time protecting our people.’ That’s sort of where we meet him in Civil War."

It’ll be fascinating to see how Marvel moves forward through the next few movies, introducing a new phase of characters set to take on a major role in the MCU. The finale of Age of Ultron made that very clear — but heroes like Black Panther will be the ones rounding out the new-look version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

What’s your take on Marvel’s plan for Black Panther?

(Via Birth. Movies. Death.)