Sophy Ziss
February 20, 2018 1:18 pm

Marvel’s Black Panther is genius for infinite reasons, but it just got even better: The two versions of King T’Chaka that we see in the film — the older version we met in Captain America: Civil War, and the younger version introduced in Black Panther — were played by a real life father and son.

How did real life father and son John Kani and Atandwa Kani end up cast as the two versions of King T’Chaka in Black Panther? It’s no accident.

John Kani is a South African playwright and actor. He’s been writing and performing since the early ’70s, so you probably recognized him from somewhere by the time he arrived on-screen in Civil War. As King T’Chaka, Kani is regal, commanding, and emotive; so, who better to play the conflicted younger version of himself than his own son, who is also an actor?

Atandwa Kani began acting much more recently than his father; fans of The CW might know him best from the all-too-brief series Life is Wild. He’s mostly worked as a stage actor, though he also played a younger Nelson Mandela in 2013 film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Sounds like we’ve got the next family dynasty on our hands, folks.

Dani Kwateng-Clark, an editor at Essence, also made the eagle-eyed observation on Twitter. She grabbed photos of each one and compared them side-by-side to an incredible photo of father and son at the premiere.

Are you ready? Take a deep breath. It’s about to happen.

YUP. Which actor delivers a more inspiring and more nuanced portrayal of Wakanda’s great ruler? Maybe that’s something they’ll debate over Thanksgiving dinner, but for our part, we love them both. Great work, Disney/Marvel. Wakanda forever.

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