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.
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.