Marvel’s Avengers’ Black Panther DLC Will Show Us a New Kind of Wakandan Power Struggle

Marvel’s Avengers’ Black Panther DLC Will Show Us a New Kind of Wakandan Power Struggle
T'Challa in his throne room. (Screenshot: Square Enix)

One of the most promising things about Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers game when it first launched was the promise of rich, character-focused DLC down the line that would introduce a broader array of classic superheroes beyond the core Avengers, Hawkeye, and Kamala Khan.

The Black Panther was high on the list of characters set to debut in the game after its release, but following Chadwick Boseman’s sudden death in 2020, the planned DLC was temporarily put on hold while Kate Bishop and Clint barton were added to the roster. While the long-term future for Marvel’s Avengers is up in the air at this point due to the game’s flagging sales and Crystal Dynamics reportedly staffing up for a new unannounced project, the studio is still on track to bring T’Challa and the rest of the Wakandans to Marvel’s Avengers in a big way.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, God of War’s Christopher Judge both announced that he will be voicing King T’Challa in the upcoming War For Wakanda DLC, and opened up a bit about why he initially turned the gig down after being offered it. Given how many actors have voiced Black Panther over the years and the impact Boseman’s performance as the character had, Judge was unsure of what he could possibly bring to the role, and it was his family’s encouragement that ultimately pushed him to reconsider.

“To be quite honest, I was fearful of being compared to what Chadwick had so wonderfully done,” Judge said. “The only way I could really wrap my head around it was to not even attempt a voice match, to let my performance stand on its own. I put all that into it and hopefully people like it.”

In order to set Marvel’s Avengers’ take on T’Challa apart from his other incarnations, Square Enix looked to io9 veteran Evan Narcisse and his Rise of the Black Panther comic from 2018 in order to help craft the game’s story. Narcisse, who worked on Marvel’s Avengers as a narrative consultant, explained that unlike his MCU counterpart, this T’Challa’s already well-established as the Black Panther and Wakanda’s ruler when he’s introduced in the game.

To some extent, this Black Panther lacks a certain sense of doubt, and Narcisse expanded on how this aspect of his personality is the source of some of Wakanda’s troubles. “He already thinks he has all the answers,” Narcisse said of the new Black Panther. “I think one of the cool things in this expansion is there’s tension between him and Shuri like we haven’t seen before about how best to move Wakanda forward.”

In addition to the tensions felt between T’Challa and Shuri, Marvel’s Avengers will also introduce a new riff on Ulysses Klaw who, despite his distinctly MCU appearance, also gains a corrupted vibranium form that imbues him with powers similar to those he has in the comics. With the War for Wakanda’s single player campaign comes a substantial amount of new story and worldbuilding, some of the things Marvel’s Avengers has needed since its launch. But considering how troubled the road leading up to the War for Wakanda’s launch is, it’s hard not to see the DLC as bittersweet last hurrah for a game that could and should have been something great.

The War for Wakanda DLC comes to Marvel’s Avengers this August.