Wesley Snipes had wanted to play the Black Panther in the 90s, and had gone to Columbia Pictures with a script. He later went on to play the vampire hunter Blade; he was still interested in playing the Black Panther, but Marvel decided to go a different direction while Mr. Snipes is busy creating his own superhero roles and writing superhero books and screenplays.
The Black Panther was created in July 1966, two months before the founding of the Black Panther Party. However, many people mistakenly assumed the name referenced the Party, and so the the character was renamed the Black Leopard; however neither the readers nor the creators cared for that title and it didn't last for long.
Ryan Coogler insisted to Marvel that he bring in collaborators from his previous films, to put his own stamp on the film and differentiate it from other MCU films that he felt were "shot, composed, and edited by the same house people". Coogler brought in cinematographer Rachel Morrison, production designer Hannah Beachler and composer Ludwig Göransson, who all worked with him in Fruitvale Station (2013).
Wakanda was mentioned as a location on a SHIELD monitor in Iron Man 2 (2010). The location pinpoints the country as being situated at Lake Turkana, on the borders of Kenya and Ethopia. The region in real life is special for holding great mineral deposits (properties similar to Wakanda).
Black Panther was the first of the Marvel characters whose movie rights reverted back to Marvel, having been previously owned by Artisan Entertainment and Columbia Pictures. Marvel got the rights back in 2005.
For her role as Queen Ramonda, Angela Bassett underwent training with Corey Calliet on a special regime. Calliet created high-intensity interval training circuits for Bassett focused on her lower body, as "the fastest and the most effective way to burn fat": mountain climbers, jump squats, lunges, push-ups and high knees, in intervals of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, up to an hour at a time.
Ryan Coogler brought in consultants who are experts on African history and politics to work on defining Wakanda: "There are many African countries, each with different histories, mythologies, and cultures; there are several tribes who live amongst each other, and together they make the identity of their country. We honed in on some of the history/cultural influences from African countries and then made estimations."
Danai Gurira is the third cast member from television series The Walking Dead (2010) to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Michael Rooker portrays Yondu Udonta in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Jon Bernthal portrays Frank Castle/The Punisher in Daredevil (2015). Actor Travis Love makes the fourth The Walking Dead cast member, he appeared in season 3 as a marauder for The Governor. He also appears in Black Panther along with fellow cast member Danai Gurira
Michael B. Jordan is the second actor who had previously played Johnny Storm/the Human Torch to appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. The first was Chris Evans, who played Johnny Storm in the Tim Story Fantastic Four films and then became Captain America/Steve Rogers in the MCU. Ironically, between this film and Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther will have fought both of them.
The mask Killmonger wears visually calls back to the way the demon Mephisto was portrayed during Chirstopher Priest's "Black Panther" comic as well as to a mask Killmonger himself wore in a duel with T'Challa in Reginald Hudlin's "Black Panther" comic.
Ryan Coogler describe the film's central theme as responsibility and identity: "What do the powerful owe those in need? It separates the good-guys from the villains. What value is strength unless you're using it to help someone? Wakanda pretends to be just another struggling African country, but some of its neighbors are struggling for real. If Wakandans don't stand up for themselves, who will? But if they stand only for themselves, then who are they?"
Michael B. Jordan had previously starred in a comic-book adaptation of the Fantastic Four superhero group. In the comics, the Black Panther and Ulysses Klaw made their debuts in a Fantastic Four adventure.
Co-stars Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, who play adversaries Nakia and M'Baku, were classmates at Yale together. They saw The Avengers (2012) together when it released, and were so awestruck by it they said hoped to get a chance to star in a similar film one day.
Lupita Nyong'o has been one actress who has been in movies for Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. She starred in The Jungle Book (2016) and Queen of Katwe for Disney, Black Panther for Marvel, and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
With this film, both theatrical Human Torch actors from the Fantastic Four films, Chris Evans and Michael B Jordan, are now part of the MCU. Kate Mara, who played Sue Storm in Fantastic Four (2015), has also appeared in the MCU in Iron Man 2 (2010).
The Wakandan dimension the Djalia is formed from the memories of Wakandan citizens. The name "Djalia" comes from "djali" (also known as "jali", or more commonly "griot"), a term used to describe a West African tribal elder who carries the knowledge of a community's culture and history.
Angela Basset and Chadwick Boseman both starred in an episode of ER (S 15 EPA. 6) back in 2008. Carl Weathers played the father of Chadwick Boseman in said episode. Michael B. Jordan plays the brother in this movie, both Carl and Michael appear in the "Rocky" franchise as father and son, Apollo and Adonis Creed, respectively
Ryan Coogler says T'Chaka will have a major impact on the Marvel Universe: "T'Challa wants to do something different than his father, but the father was thinking ahead and beyond the boundaries of Wakanda."
In the comics, T'Challa is a noted scientist/inventor and skeptic on the supernatural; in contrast, his sister Princess Shuri visits the Djalia, a spiritual dimension of Wakanda created from the memories of Wakandan citizens. In the film it is the opposite: Shuri was made an inventor to provide a good role model to young black girls, and T'Challa visits the Djalia to communicate with his dead father.
The Black Panther suit is upgraded in this film to bear mystic runes. This is based on the "Doomwar" storyline, where T'Challa developed magical tactics to not rely on his nation's resources of vibranium.