Marvel has made some changes to the comic book character Man-Ape in their upcoming Black Panther film. They wanted to use the villainous character, but as you might imagine, in today's society, having an African character go by the name "Man-Ape" or dress up like an ape, definitely isn't the best idea. So, Marvel appropriately changed up the character, who you can see in the photo above. He is being played by Winston Duke and will go by the name of M’Baku in the film, which was his real name in the comics. He certainly looks like a badass! He's going to be serious trouble for Black Panther.
The character first appeared in Avengers #62 in March 1969, and he dressed himself up in white fur and went by the name “Man-Ape.” It was definitely a different time when the character was created. When talking about the change, producer Nate Moore explains to EW:
"We don’t call him Man-Ape. We do call him M’Baku. Having a black character dress up as an ape, I think there’s a lot of racial implications that don’t sit well, if done wrong. But the idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own right."
As you can see in the photo, the character still has elements of fur on his arms, shoulders, and legs as well. He is also wearing a chest-plate that is said "hints at the animal that is symbolic of his tribe." Don't expect him to wear the gorilla mask that he wore in the comics, though. Moore goes on to talk about the character's place in the story saying:
"In M’Baku’s worldview, T’Chaka made a huge mistake going to the U.N. ‘We should never engage with the outside world. That’s a terrible mistake. And if his son is anything like his father, I don’t support him being on the throne.'"
M’Baku is the one that wants to sit on the throne and be king.
"Politically, he just has different ideology. Man-Ape is a problematic character for a lot of reasons, but the idea behind Man-Ape we thought was really fascinating. … It’s a line I think we’re walking, and hopefully walking successfully."
M’Baku seems like a really interesting character in the film and will add a good conflicting element to the story that director Ryan Coogler has set to tell. Coogler adds:
“In this movie, it’s a little tricky to define who’s a [good guy]. The film very much plays with those concepts, looking at conflicts and different motivations, and who’s with who. M’Baku is a really interesting character, and I’m excited for people to get to see him.”
Black Panther is set to hit theaters on February 16th, 2018.