The new Black Panther The film attacks the heart-shaped grass of the property’s main theme: legacy. This is embodied in the title of Black Panther itself, since his mantle represents more than just a costume. Long before T’Challa or even his parents ruled Wakanda, there were others with their own reigns, much like the ancient Black Panthers.
The Black Panther title dates back centuries, and the original man who used this nickname seemed to unify Wakanda in the remote past. Though it only does so briefly, the new movie does provide a bit more detail about this figure, whose lineage continues throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this day. Here’s what MCU fans need to know about the first person to be named “Black Panther.”
The First Black Panther of Wakanda and the Golden Tribe
As it is shown in wakandan forever, the first Black Panther to act as a guardian of Wakanda was a warrior named Bashenga, who was born around 7984 BC. Although Wakanda would later be known for the technological development of him, this was still a long way off, as Bashenga was more of a mystical shaman. During his time, the people of Wakandan were disjointed, at war with each other in separate tribes for control of the alien metal vibranium. To end this bloodshed, the goddess Bast gave Bashenga a vision, leading him to find the mysterious heart-shaped herb and empower himself as his descendants would.
These powers include enhanced physical abilities and a regenerative healing factor, making the first Black Panther much more than just a man. Seeing Bashenga’s power, four of the five Wakandan tribes agreed to live under his rule while he ruled the country. The only tribe that opted out was the Jabari tribe, of which M’Baku would be a member generations later. Mount Bashenga would be named after this great king, and his descendants would be known as the Panther Tribe, also known as the Golden Tribe.
The Golden Tribe is made up of the heirs and descendants of Bashenga himself, with ranks including T’Challa, his parents T’Chaka and Ramonda, his sister Shuri, and his son T’Challa II. This gives the previous and current Black Panthers a direct link to the original, although Ramonda was only “related” to him through marriage. Therefore, it is T’Chaka and not the mother of the two heirs who is a descendant of Bashenga. Erik Killmonger was also part of this lineage, even if his place in the family tree was largely ignored for most of his life.
Since the Bashenga rule, the title of Black Panther has been hereditary. At the same time, those who wish to act as Wakanda’s guardians must earn the right. T’Challa’s young son Toussaint, whose real name is T’Challa II, could claim the title as his own when he is an adult, but only after he has earned it rightfully. If this were to happen, he would ensure that the Bashenga bloodline would continue to hold the mantle of Black Panther.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters.