Source: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios has officially announced the start of production on Black Panther. Production actually started last week, but Marvel published the full announcement today, including the cast for director Ryan Coogler’s film. We’ve know most of the main and new players for some time, but now the return of a couple of big names has been confirmed.

Andy Serkis is headed back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reprising the role of Ulysses Klaue. Serkis first played Klaue in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron where the character lost his arm in a violent misunderstanding with the titular villain. That act of violence was thought to have set up the prosthetic upgrade Klaue receives in the comics and now we may see it happen in Black Panther. Just expect something a little closer to what Marvel Animation did in Avengers Assemble on Disney XD than his class comic look.

Source: Disney XD

This also gives Black Panther its third villain with Michael B. Jordan set to lead all baddies as Erik Killmonger and Winston Duke playing M’Baku, also known in the comics as Man-Ape.

Marvel’s announcement may have been spoiled by some set photos a few days ago, but now Martin Freeman is officially back. Freeman’s MCU debut came last year in Captain America: Civil War. His return in Black Panther comes as no surprise given that his character, Everett Ross, has close ties to Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and his home nation of Wakanda in the comics.

The cast announcement also includes John Kani, who played Black Panther/T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War. Given that Wakanda’s now former king didn’t make it out of that film alive, this news confirms that there will be flashback sequences in the film.

Source: Marvel Studios

For more on the cast and production of Black Panther, see Marvel’s full press release below.

Chadwick Boseman & More Star in The Next Chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Marvel Studios announced today that production has begun on “Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Get on Up”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “12 Years a Slave”), Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead,” upcoming “All Eyez on Me”), Martin Freeman (“Hobbit” trilogy, “Sherlock”), Daniel Kaluuya (upcoming “Get Out,” “Sicario”), with Academy Award® nominee Angela Bassett (“American Horror Story,” “London Has Fallen”), with Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”), and Andy Serkis (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).

Additional cast members include Letitia Wright (“Urban Hymn,” “Glasgow Girls”), Winston Duke (“Person of Interest, “Modern Family”), Florence Kasumba (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Emerald City”), Sterling K. Brown (“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) and John Kani (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Coriolanus”).

Ryan Coogler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) directs Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” from a screenplay he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”). The film, which opens in U.S. theaters on February 16, 2018, will be shot in Atlanta and South Korea.

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” is produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

Coogler’s creative brain trust includes his frequent collaborators: director of photography Rachel Morrison, A.S.C. (“Dope,” “Fruitvale Station”), production designer Hannah Beachler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”), editors Claudia Castello (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”) and Michael P. Shawver (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”); along with costume designer Ruth E. Carter (“Selma,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”), visuals effects supervisor Geoffrey Baumann (“Doctor Strange,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), Academy Award®- winning makeup designer Joel Harlow (“Star Trek Beyond,” “Black Mass”) and seven-time Academy Award® nominee, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Marvel’s The Avengers”).

Based on the Marvel comic character that first appeared in “Fantastic Four Vol. 1” Issue 52, published in 1966, “Black Panther” joins Marvel Studios’ slate of releases in its Phase 3 commitment to introduce film audiences to new heroes and continue the adventures of fan favorites over the course of four years and nine films.

In 2016, Marvel Studios continued its unprecedented success with the release of “Captain America: Civil War,” which opened on May 6 with the fifth largest opening weekend of all time and has since garnered box office receipts of over $1.1 billion worldwide.

The juggernaut studio ended the year with its newest Super Hero “Doctor Strange,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams. The film opened #1 at the box office on November 4 and went on to gross more than $659 million worldwide to date. The two films propelled Marvel Studios’ #1 domestic box-office opening streak to a record-breaking 14 consecutive films.

Marvel Studios’ other epic big-screen adventures include Marvel’s “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Ant-Man,” and the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (May 5, 2017), “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7, 2017), “Thor: Ragnarok” (November 3, 2017) and “Avengers: Infinity War” (May 4, 2018).

Black Panther is due in theaters February 16, 2018.