There's much to unpack in our Black Panther teaser trailer 1 breakdown

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Jan 8, 2019, 12:01 PM EST (Updated)

The first teaser trailer for Black Panther from Marvel Studios aired during Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and suddenly no one was talking about LeBron, Curry or anyone else on the court. T'Challa of Wakanda took all that away with a minute and 45 seconds or so of glory. We'll break it down moment by moment for you here, but first, if you haven't watched it (10 times) already, take a look.

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Yeah, this trailer is that good. Here's what we saw! Warning, there's a lot to unpack in this relatively short trailer.



Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman, playing Ulysses Klaue and Agent Everett K. Ross, respectively, face off for a conversation to start the trailer. As we see later, King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the leader of the elite Dora Milaje, Okoye (Danai Gurira), are watching this conversation, until it's interrupted by an explosion.

This is also extremely fun for geeks because hey, it's Bilbo Baggins and Gollum having a bit of a tet-a-tet again!


Welcome to Wakanda

Our first look at Wakanda is suitably a mix of technological superiority and traditional tribal beauty. The juxtaposition is just stunning. It looks like, from later in the trailer, this will also be the site of the first battle between Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T'Challa.


Black Panther has no time for your bullets

This defiant first look at Black Panther in the suit is just perfect. We see him illuminated in the shadows, see him kick some butt, and then, while being shot at, he walks defiantly at the shooter -- like Luke Cage before him, this sort of commentary on society's current problems is subtle, but clear.


Zuri Debuts

Forest Whitaker is only in the trailer for a moment, but his character Zuri, an advisor and warrior who served T'Chaka and is there for T'Challa during his transition into power, will play a crucial role on the political side of the film.


The Dora Milaje in an Asian casino?

We get an all-too-short look at two of the Dora Milaje, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia and Danai Gurira as Okoye, in some underground-looking casino. If this entire scene is just the two of them using hand-to-hand combat to kick the asses of a bunch of gun-toting gansters, well, I'm here for it.


Come at me, I submit, or welcome, my people?

The shot of Boseman, in most of his costume (no cowl), walking arms open wide could be interpreted many ways. In one way it seems like he's just done something significant, and he's defiant. In another, it could be looked at as submissive, saying his arms are open wide and he'll take anything anyone's got for him. Finally, since he's walking toward what look like members of multiple Wakandan tribes, it could be simply a showing of welcome. Maybe it's all three, which just makes the shot that much more beautiful.


Tribal Council of Wakanda

In the seminal runs on Black Panther, including those by Priest and the current run by Ta-Nehisi Coates, we see several tribes who live within Wakanda. From this shot, it looks like that will be represented in the film, with each tribal leader having a seat on a ruling council that reports and confers directly with the king.


Okay, one more for the Dora Milaje

The second clear shot of Eric Killmonger sees him face off against the Dora Milaje, the all-female elite fighting force of Wakanda. Look, Killmonger looks pretty tough, but I wouldn't want to face down those badasses. The next shot shows two of these warriors emerging from a building, with a mix of traditional and tech weaponry.


Engine trouble

Finally, we see a good straight-up superhero moment for Black Panther, who seems to use some sort of (Vibranium-based, no doubt) technology to flip a damn moving car, landing like he just took out the trash. If this shot -- and the other minute and forty seconds (plus the sick Run the Jewels song, "Legend Has It," that plays over it) doesn't get you hyped for Black Panther, well, you need to reevaluate yourself.