• 06.12.17

Take A Closer Look At The Amazing Character Design In “Black Panther”

The first trailer for “Black Panther” rolled out on Friday night and we are obsessed with all the fantastically original costumes on display.

Take A Closer Look At The Amazing Character Design In “Black Panther”

When Martin Freeman’s character is asked about the fictional land of Wakanda in the opening moments of the Black Panther trailer, he mentions the following details: “textiles, shepherds, cool outfits.” There may, in fact, be textiles and shepherds in Wakanda, but it’s the cool outfits, however, that are most prominently featured in the rest of the trailer. “Cool” actually undersells it. The costumes in Black Panther are among the most memorable in the Marvel universe and beyond.


Black Panther is the ferociously anticipated solo debut from the standout character introduced last year in Captain America: Civil War. It’s co-writer/director Ryan Coogler’s follow up to the stunning Rocky-verse update, Creed, and it’s teeming with talented actors like Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, and of course Chadwick Boseman, who is playing the titular superhero. Although the film doesn’t come out until next February–a Black History Month release for the first Black Superhero Movie since Blade–the first trailer rolled out on Friday night and instantly obliterated whatever else was being discussed on Twitter. (Some basketball game, perhaps.) Although the snippets of action and a knocking Run the Jewels soundtrack were certainly on point, it was probably those cool outfits that stood out the most.

Ruth E. Carter–Spike Lee’s go-to costume designer, who has also worked with Ava Duvernay, Steven Spielberg, and John Singleton–is responsible for the dazzling duds that go way beyond the usual latex, cowls, and codpieces. Carter has not done a superhero movie before unless you count Robert Townsend’s Meteor Man, which is more of a satire. In any case, her outsider status, combined with the endless storyboard work of the comics themselves and input from Coogler, has led to some of the most interstellar sartorial choices ever put on screen.

These outfits are overflowing with imagination and style, and as some have already pointed out on Twitter, they are bound to give cosplayers and Halloween-heads fodder for years and years to come. Let’s take a closer look below at all the incredible looks packed into the teaser’s sub-two-minute runtime.

These are just the extras. The extras!

Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger dons both a shirtless hoodie and tiger-claw neckless combo, as well as a lightweight armor and emo-dreads situation. In that second image, he is joined by Get Out star, Daniel Kaluuya, finally free of The Sunken Place.


Judging by the armor here, this is Jordan again, with some kind of lion-mane-and-goat-horn mask that is almost objectively badass.

Even without those incredible weapons, whatever the hell they are, the hair, face paint, and outfits here signal a new breed of warrior.

Even these ponchos are unstoppable.

These are palatial looks, injected with the traditionalism of lip plates.

When Boseman’s T’Challa is out of costume, he still looks totally GQ.

The same goes for Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, T’Challa’s love interest, only she’d obviously be better suited to the pages of Glamour.


I would watch an entire movie about whatever is going on with those kids and also Forest Whitaker.

And of course, there’s the Black Panther design itself, which even though we already saw it in Civil War last year, is still impressive. February 2018 can’t come soon enough.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.