The Panther Habit was worn by the King of Wakanda for many generations, who would then take the mantle of "Black Panther" to be Wakanda's protector. T'Challa is the latest owner of the Habit, having trained during his youth to be the protector of Wakanda.
Death of Prince N'Jobu
However, T'Chaka had previously sent Zuri to keep an eye on N'Jobu, operating under the alias of "James", who outed the Prince and revealed the stolen Vibranium hidden in his apartment. After hearing N'Jobu's confession, T'Chaka ordered his brother to return to Wakanda to face trial for his treason, but N'Jobu instead retaliated against James, intending to kill him. Before he could, T'Chaka disarmed him and killed him with his claws. T'Chaka told Zuri to never speak about what really happened to anyone, which Zuri obliged faithfully.
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Chase of the Winter Soldier
T'Challa donned the Panther Habit in order to avenge his father following his death in a terrorist attack believed to have been committed by the Winter Soldier. Tracking Bucky Barnes to Bucharest, Black Panther fiercely hunted him down to a traffic tunnel, facing off against Winter Soldier, as well as Captain America and Falcon, where he proved to be a match for all three. However, Black Panther's attempt was prevented by Captain America, followed by the arrival of War Machine and an entire police squad, to whom he removed his mask and revealed his identity.
Seeking revenge against the escaped Winter Soldier, T'Challa would don the Panther Habit again, fighting on Iron Man's side in the Clash of the Avengers against Captain America and Winter Soldier along with their supporters. However, he was stopped short of capturing the pair by Black Widow, who held him back with her Black Widow's Bite as they escaped in a Quinjet. Later, planning to finally find and kill the Winter Soldier, T'Challa followed Tony Stark to the Winter Soldier laboratory in Siberia where he discovered that the terrorist attack that killed his father was actually orchestrated by Helmut Zemo. Seeing the effects of revenge on Zemo, Black Panther chose to spare him to the point of preventing Zemo from taking his own life.
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After learning that Ulysses Klaue had been spotted in South Korea, Shuri showed T'Challa the new, upgraded versions of the Habit she'd been developing, which were much lighter than his previous design, due to being constructed from nanotechnology, as well as able to be stored within the teeth of a ceremonial necklace. After calibrating the Habit's nanites to the Vibranium tattoo behind T'Challa's ear, Shuri instructed him to mentally command it to activate.
Doing so, T'Challa watched in awe as the Habit materialized seemingly from nothing, complimenting his sister on her design. Shuri then demonstrated the nanites' ability to store energy, much to her brother's embarrassment as he was sent flying from the pulse it released. Impressed with his sister's modifications, T'Challa decided to continue using the upgraded Habit instead.
- "Hey, look at your suit. You've been taking bullets, charging it up with kinetic energy."
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In his youth, T'Chaka served as the Black Panther years before his son would claim the mantle. His Habit possessed a golden color scheme, crossing throughout many areas of the Habit, and its torso design was reminiscent to T'Challa's initial Habit he wore during the Clash of the Avengers.
- Vibranium Claws: The Habit possessed vibranium claws for use in combat.
T'Challa's Original Habit
The Habit was designed to be reminiscent of King T'Chaka's. Its vibranium composition makes the user completely bulletproof and near-indestructible, able to withstand two explosive arrows from Hawkeye's arsenal at point-blank range without any noticeable damage. Due to the lightweight properties of the metal, the suit doesn't inhibit the wearer's mobility in the slightest. Due to the vibranium absorbing and redirecting force, the user becomes physically superhuman, enhancing their durability to be able to withstand explosions and gunfire, as well as strikes from physically stronger opponents. The gloves have vibranium-laced knuckles built in, while the toes are also laced with vibranium, both of these are meant to enhance strike attacks. The suit is accompanied with:
- Vibranium Claws: Two sets of deployable vibranium claws embedded in the tips of the gloves' fingers; serving as a primary weapon of T'Challa during combat. The claws are exceptionally strong and razor-sharp, notably able to put scratch marks on Captain America's shield during the airport clash.
- Panther Helmet: The Habit comes equipped with a helmet, which has similar properties with the suit, and is adorned with silver trimmings and slightly pointed arches on either side of the top that mimic the ears of the animal. The helmet seems to have a safety latch in the rear area, enabling it to attach firmly onto the user's head.
- "It is lighter, thinner and it absorbs energy for redistribution."
Presented to T'Challa upon his return to Wakanda, the latest version of the Habit was highly upgraded by Shuri to be lighter than his original Habit, as well as entirely bulletproof. Most notably, the Habit was outfitted to harness a powerful energy field that it absorbs from external sources for later distribution, greatly enhancing its offensive capabilities. This version of the Habit is constructed from Wakandan nanotechnology and materializes from a ceremonial necklace worn by the user. Its features include:
Wakandan Technology: Upgraded by Shuri, the Panther Habit is now one of Wakanda's more advanced products, housing an advanced array of sophisticated technology to greatly enhance T'Challa's capabilities as the Black Panther.
- "Now tell it to go on. The entire suit fits in the teeth of the necklace."
- Suit Materialization: After Shuri calibrated the new Habit's nanites to his Vibranium tattoo, T'Challa, similar to Tony Stark's use of the Telepresence Headset, is able to mentally command the Habit to materialize from its necklace with the same energy field generated capable of shredding any other clothing it replaces. Due to the helmet being integrated into the Habit, T'Challa is able to summon and dismiss the helmet portion at will, as well as just its lenses.
- Suit Regeneration: After a small portion of the suit was destroyed by a blast from Ulysses Klaue's Prosthetic Arm, the Habit was able to reform the lost portion back. Additionally, both T'Challa's and Killmonger's Golden Jaguar Habit was still able to regenerate continually even after the stabilizers for the Wakandan Maglev Train interfered with the Habit's materialization technology, at the cost of the suit's defenses being weakened. This disturbance ultimately led to the death of Killmonger, as T'Challa was able to mortally wound him through the destroyed area of the suit.
- Energy Redistribution: As explained by Shuri, a prominent feature of the upgraded Habit is its ability to redistribute stored energy. It can receive energy from any incoming source, such as bullets being fired at T'Challa or attacks from enemies, that its nanites will hold in place to release later. The Habit begins to glow purple from its accumulated charge of energy, to which T'Challa can use either by releasing it all at once, or to charge his strikes during combat, further augmenting the force behind them.
- Kinetic Energy Pulse: Using the kinetic energy absorbed from the bullets being fired at him, T'Challa was able to disable a car with an energy pulse expelled by the Habit, using the propelling force to launch himself further into his pursuit. When he was overwhelmed by Border Tribe warriors, the Habit gained an increasing amount of energy from their attacks that T'Challa was able to release as a much more powerful and devastating pulse, strong enough to send multiple enemies flying.
- Vibranium Claws: Like its predecessors, the Habit possesses razor-sharp vibranium claws that are able to cut through almost anything, such as the wheel disk or roof of a car. However, the second Habit can deploy claws out of the fingertips as well as its knuckles.
- Sound Nullification: T'Challa wears sound absorbent shoes while using the Habit, enabling his footsteps to be completely masked, making it easy for him to be stealthy.
- Communication System: The Habit has a built-in communication system, allowing T'Challa to communicate with Shuri through her Kimoyo Beads.
- Concept art for T'Chaka's Habit by Andy Park reveal that an unused design of the Habit resembled the classic caped look Black Panther often had in the comics.
- In the comics, Killmonger wore a Wakandan armor equipped with spikes and energy blaster. The golden version of the Panther Habit is based on Killmonger's connection to the leopard in the comics.
Behind the Scenes
- Ryan Meinerding, Head of Visual Development of Marvel Studios, said "I tend to like to design the 'men-of-action' of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I find the ones I'm drawn to are the more physical ones, the ones who specialize in hand-to-hand combat. Panther's silhouette throughout the comics has always been lithe, and because the costume was primarily black with muscle shapes, the challenge with this one was trying to find a way to translate something that's simple to a real-world setting with enough texture and detail to not just be a man in a black leotard. I was trying to come up with ways of having the suit constructed that the audience wouldn't understand - it's meant to be woven together in ways that are nearly impossible to achieve in a practical setting, and therefore make it feel like it's from a culture that's way more advanced than ours. The overall concept is that it's a woven suit - on a more granular level, there is vibranium woven into the fabric. This vibranium would provide a silver sheen so that when it catches the light, it would glisten a bit. From there we tried to create a design language for patterns to fit very subtly into the hard vibranium pieces that are woven through the suit."