Marvel looks to be throwing everything and the kitchen sink into Black Panther, with Person of Interest vet Winston Duke signing on to play M’Baku – otherwise known as Man-Ape – in the super hero pic set for release February 16, 2018. Duke is best known for playing for playing Dominc on Person of Interest, and was recently seen on Major Crimes and The Messengers.
Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, Man-Ape/M’Baku debuted in Avengers #62 in 1969. Once one the greatest soldiers serving Wakanda – the fictional, hyper-advanced African nation ruled by Black Panther – M’Baku joined the outlawed White Gorilla cult, gaining superpowers with which he attempted to take over the kingdom for himself. Since then, he’s been presented as possibly Black Panther’s biggest nemesis aside from Ulysses Klaw (played by Andy Serkis in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
The inclusion comes (to me at least) as something of a surprise. Michael B. Jordan has been previously announced to play Black Panther antagonist Killmonger and Serkis is confirmed to be reprising Klaw. It sounds like a lot of bad guys, though Marvel tends to play a long game so it’s a solid bet we’ll see M’Baku in his role as Wakkandan soldier, before his turn to evil.
Along with Serkis and Jordan, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman in the title role alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira. Ryan Coogler is directing and co-writing the script with Joe Robert Cole.
Variety first reported on the casting.