Of the Marvel Cinematic Universe cannon—17 movies including the Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor films—Black Panther is the first to feature a predominantly black cast. And it’s already being lauded as nothing short of historical. In a follow-up to Captain America: Civil War—which introduced T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as the mysterious and stealthy Black Panther—T’Challa returns to his nation of Wakanda to succeed the throne after the death of his father. Now king, T’Challa must deal with factions within his own country as well as new threats who conspire to destroy Wakanda.
On the surface, Black Panther is just another superhero flick, but behind the scenes there are ponderings on race, identity, and Afrofuturism that make this a movie worth exploring beyond the silver screen. As a MCU nerd and black woman of African descent, this is a movie I won’t be watching just once because, beside the larger-than-life story line, there are so many cultural facets to pick apart. Just in time for Black History Month, here are 5 books to read to fully grasp the cultural impact of Black Panther.