So Martin Freeman’s character in Marvel Studios’ incredibly anticipated Captain America: Civil War has been revealed at last. Namely, one Everett Ross. But who IS Everett Ross?
Well to be succinct, in the comics this Ross (not to be confused with General Thaddeus Ross, known as an antagonist of the Hulk (Bruce Banner) and as the Red Hulk) is the liaison of the US government to the nation of Wakanda. As you may or may not know, Wakanda is the home nation of the superhero, Black Panther, pictured below in his silver screen debut.
Now the Black Panther is not only a native of Wakanda, he is also their King, their protector. So what does Freeman’s casting as Everett Ross mean? Well, as he’s traditionally been the US liaison with Wakanda in the comics, it’s a safe bet that this is angling for him to appear in the future in Black Panther’s solo film in the February 2018 – a film which Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, has noted will be of crucial importance when it comes to setting up the two part movie, Avengers: Infinity War – Parts 1 & 2, releasing in May 2018 and May 2019 respectively.
Marvel Studios casting Freeman as Ross is also rather interesting from a political kind of view – traditionally, Wakanda has been especially insular, possessing technologies well in advance of any other nation on Earth (equalled/surpassed perhaps only by the likes of Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Doom and Iron Man). Now, the reason that Wakanda is so technologically advanced is because it happens to possess the very rare metal known as Vibranium.
For those not in the know, Vibranium is a component of the metal alloy used to make Captain America’s shield, and is also used in the Black Panther’s ceremonial gear, as shown in the picture above. I’ll leave the finer details for you to look up on your own, but its essentially one of the strongest metals in the Marvel Universe.
Now as you can imagine, the other nations (particularly the US) probably aren’t particularly pleased that Wakanda is sitting on this revolutionary material, and I think it’s reasonable to say that this is going to lead to a certain degree of political tension when it comes to Wakanda’s foreign relations. And you know what, that’s great!
Remember, Black Panther is not just a superhero, a champion of justice – first and foremost (as is showcased in a lot of comic arcs) he is a King, and before justice, before the Avengers…comes his people. It’s so ingrained into his history that there’s 0 chance that they won’t cover how he’s torn between his duty to Wakanda and his desire for justice.
That in itself brings up a lot of interesting things to explore – Wakanda traditionally is rather isolationist, so we can likely expect major geopolitical shockwaves from T’Challa during his reign, considering he’s a supporter of opening up Wakanda’s borders. There’s also a lot of traditionalists in his government, who don’t see eye to eye with him on Wakanda joining the outside world, so political intrigue and maneuvering is something I’d really like to see more of, especially after the past couple of MCU films. Nonstop fighting action is beautiful, and fun, but it’s the quieter moments that are often more meaningful.
Moreover, with T’Challa being a King, he is undoubtedly a far more serious character, which I imagine would be reflected with how he balances his vision for his country with the traditionalists in his government, as well as the pressure of the outside world.
With Everett Ross in the mix…it is likely safe to say that there will hopefully be a good amount of political intrigue…let’s hope we don’t have a Red Wedding anytime soon though ;).