What’s past is prologue: Black Panther and a true backstory



Most superheros have an origin story. Although, it is often depicted in the first ten minutes of a film and then we have the here and now. I must say that I am taken back a bit by how the Joker doesn’t have a truly fleshed out origin story. He falls into a vat.  How is that really setting the psychological context?

Last summer, I was totally taken in by the Wonder Woman. So much so, that I was flabbergasted by the fact that it did not receive a single Oscars nomination.   There was a backstory and there was empowerment. And a mighty, mighty woman.

Fast forward to this past week. I caught the Black Panther (as did many, many others) and was pleasantly surprised.   First off, I watched it in 4DX and the car chase and fight scenes were even more spectacular as a result. Second, there was a real plot driven by nuance, moral ambiguity and character development. Interestingly, when I spoke with others about the film not many noted that the protagonist was their favorite character.  Many cited the villain. Others cited the tech geek sister. While many also cited two of the fierce warriors. In a way, the Black Panther hero himself was the least interesting of them all. Yet he served as a constant reminder of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest phrase “What’s past is prologue.”

The phrase that Shakespeare wrote came to mean that the past is a preface to the future – we can’t forget the lessons of history.  In our everyday lives, we are living our prologues. We are living today the motivations for tomorrow. We are also impacting the prologues of others. It is all synergistic and thus there is an origin story for everything.   We just may not be fully aware of it all. Thus, when we meet the Joker in the midst of his transformation, it has become his prologue.


We all have an origin story. It’s just a matter of where in that “origin” journey we come across them.

5 replies »

  1. There’s this series… Called “Gotham” which has the entire Batman Universe’s story… In their own way. It’s got Joker’s younger past version very well portrayed. Also… If you loved Black Panther so much… Wait for Infinity Wars! That’s a real prize! The trailer sent goosebumps through the entire mass of Marvel fans!


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