Prior to hitting theaters, the film's already recieved rave reviews and is on track for a record-breaking box office opening weekend, according to CNN Money.
With a stellar cast including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong'o (just a few all-stars from the film's lineup), Black Panther promises to be a breakthrough superhero movie thanks to its triumphant representation of African history (albeit a fictional one) and top-notch direction from Ryan Coogler.
Applauded for its celebration of black culture and heritage via costume, makeup (face and body), and hair, Black Panther's entire cast was transformed.
If you're heading to see the flick in theaters, keep an eye out for these 12 Black Panther actors. Here are the characters they'll portray in the smash-hit Marvel film (and what they look like in real life).
Chadwick Boseman stars as T'Challa, king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, who becomes the Black Panther in the film.
Prior to his role as Black Panther, Boseman starred as Thurgood Marshall in the film Marshall, and portrayed James Brown in Get on Up.
A Wakandan exile, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens becomes an American black-ops soldier who strives to overthrow T'Challa.
Aside from his starring role as the Black Panther villain, actor Michael B. Jordan is perhaps best known for his performance in Creed, for which he underwent a rigorous training program.
Nakia is one of T'Challa's former lovers. But more important, she's a member of the Dora Milaje—the Wakandan all-female special forces team that serves as T'Challa's security.
Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o made her big break after starring in 12 Years a Slave, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Considered a religious and spiritual figure in Wakanda, Zuri is an elder statesman and keeper of the Heart-Shaped Herb (a plant that grows only in Wakanda).
An Academy Award and Golden Globe winner, veteran actor Forest Whitaker has starred in critically acclaimed films such as The Last King of Scotland and The Butler.
Leader of the Dora Milaje all-female special forces, Okoye is a traditionalist from the Border Tribe with badass fighting skills.
Born in Iowa to parents from Zimbabwe, according to IMDb, Danai Gurira has previously starred in films like All Eyez on Me and The Visitor.
T'Challa's best friend, W'Kabi acts as a confidant and head of security for the Border Tribe in the film.
Although Daniel Kaluuya has been on the Hollywood scene for many years (with roles in Black Mirror and Sicario), his big break came thanks to a starring role in the horror/satirical film Get Out, which had massive commericial and critical success.
T'Challa's mother and the Queen Mother of the kingdom of Wakanda, Ramonda is a powerful and insightful advisor.
A Hollywood powerhouse, the brilliant Angela Bassett has showcased her acting range in a variety of projects that includes American Horror Story, What's Love Got to Do with It, and The Rosa Parks Story.
An ally of Killmonger's, Ulysses Klaue is a South African black market arms dealer and smuggler who poses a serious threat to the kingdom of Wakanda.
One of the most talented and expressive actors in the business, Andy Serkis is best recognized for portraying Gollum, a computer-generated character in Lord of the Rings, and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot.
A CIA agent and former liaison of its Joint Counter Terrorism Task Force, Everett K. Ross and T'Challa are reunited when they find themselves fighting the same adversary: Killmonger.
Known for his iconic roles as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, as well as Dr. Watson in the television series Sherlock, actor Martin Freeman has been bringing his talents to the big and small screens since the late 1990s.
A warrior for the Dora Milaje, Ayo made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Captain America: Civil War.
Born in Uganda and raised in Germany, according to IMDb, actress Florence Kasumba has made appearances in films like Wonder Woman and the upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King.
Leader of Wakanda's mountain tribe, the Jabari, M'Baku is ruthless, powerful, and strongly opposes T'Challa as king. Although the comic book version of this character was referred to as "Man-Ape," the creative team behind Black Panther modernized the role and abandoned that moniker, according to Entertainment Weekly.
With guest roles in television shows like Law & Order: SVU and Modern Family, Winston Duke is getting his big break thanks to this role in Black Panther.
Shuri is T'Challa's younger sister, and therefore a princess of Wakanda. "She designs all of the new technology," actress Letitia Wright told Interview Magazine, and "has an innovative spirit and an innovative mind."