When Kratos met Black Panther.
Though his time in the role as the Marvel cinematic universe’s Black Panther was tragically cut short by colon cancer, actor Chadwick Boseman embodied the role of T’Challa so fully that it’s hard to imagine anyone else providing the character’s voice. Though initially reluctant, Christopher Judge, Stargate alum and the voice of God of War’s Kratos, has stepped into the role for Marvel’s Avengers upcoming Black Panther DLC.
The War for Wakanda expansion for Marvel’s Avengers adds a whole new chapter to Crystal Dynamics’ superhero epic, transporting players to the jungles surrounding the hidden technological haven of Wakanda. There they’ll fight off the forces of Klaw, the sonic-powered super villain who seeks to rob the nation of its cache of the miracle metal vibranium. More importantly, the expansion adds Black Panther as a playable character, a long-overdue addition.
Though none of the playable characters in Marvel’s Avengers are voiced by the actors from the MCU, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Chadwick Boseman in the role. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about his newly-announced role, veteran sci-fi actor and voice of Kratos Christopher Judge said he nearly didn’t take the job.
“I turned it down straight away,” Judge told Entertainment Weekly, discussing when he was first approached about the role. “There’s many Black Panthers, but I really didn’t believe that anyone should ever do T’Challa again [after Boseman]. The actual talks proceeded and, basically, I wound up doing it because my mother and my children said if I didn’t do it, they would disown me.”
Christopher Judge as Teal’c in Stargate SG-1, with hair.
Though Judge worked with Black Panther movie dialect coach Beth McGuire to perfect his Wakandan accent, the T’Challa in the upcoming DLC is much different than the one from the films. Marvel’s Avengers’ Black Panther is no new king. He’s settled into the role over the years and acts and speaks with authority. Behind the scenes of the main game, T’Challa was negotiating opening the borders of his country with Captain America, but A.I.M.’s devastating attack on San Francisco and Cap’s apparent death caused the country to close up shop once again. Years later, when A.I.M. sends Klaw to try and steal Wakanda’s vibranium, T’Challa has no choice but to enter the fray anew.
The story for the War for Wakanda expansion is being handled by a very familiar face. Former Kotaku and iO9 writer and Rise of the Black Panther comic book author Evan Narcisse serves as the game’s narrative consultant. “I want to double down on the idea that this is its own iteration of the Black Panther mythos,” said Narcisse, speaking to EW. “Even if you know the comics and can quote the movie by heart, there are still going to be some surprises.”
Christopher Judge, Evan Narcisse, and Marvel’s Avengers narrative lead Hannah McLeod will talk more about the emotionally-charged experience of bringing Black Panther to the game in a special Crystal Dynamics-hosted Twitch stream on Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern. Hopefully they’ll also narrow down the expansion’s release date beyond later this year.