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A Personal Vendetta: Andy Serkis Discusses Ulysses Klaue's Villainous Motivations In 'Black Panther'

Introduced in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, the character of Ulysses Klaue is one Marvel fans know very well indeed.

A dangerous foe. [Credit: Marvel Studios]

Introduced in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, the character of Ulysses Klaue is one Marvel fans know very well indeed. In the comics, he's Black Panther's nemesis, and the man who assassinated T'Challa's father. In the MCU, though, we already know the character is very different; after all, T'Chaka died in Captain America: Civil War, killed by Zemo's terrorist attack at the signing of the Sokovia Accords. So how will Ulysses Klaue's be fleshed out in Black Panther? Andy Serkis, the actor who plays Klaue, has recently revealed a lot of tantalizing details...

Klaue's Motivation

Klaue was introduced to the MCU as a weapons dealer, and Ultron went to him with the aim of acquiring more vibranium. As we saw in the Black Panther trailer, he's the only man from the west to have seen Wakanda, and he's furious at the nation he's glimpsed. At #SDCC2017, Serkis explained:

"He is the only person who has been into Wakanda and seen the wealth that it has and he wants to expose that. He believes them to be a hypocritical country. They're playing this kind of 'we're a third world country' card and he knows what's underlying that so he's trying to expose that."

Wakanda has kept its riches and technological marvels a closely-guarded secret for generations, and Klaue isn't happy with that. There's a reason he compares Wakanda to El Dorado in the trailer; treasure-hunters have sought the legendary City of Gold for centuries, and he believes Wakanda's secrets to be a prize on an equal scale. As we saw, Klaue begins the film as a prisoner, desperate to divulge Wakanda's secrets.

One of the reasons for Klaue's Wakandan fixation is that he's become absolutely obsessed with vibranium. This obsession is understandable; he knows how rare vibranium really is, and he understands the metal's properties better than anyone. Although the #MCU version will never be a being made of sound (as he is in the comics), Black Panther will see Klaue attach a powerful Wakandan mining device to his arm. Appropriately enough, this weapon is sonic, so we'll get to see Serkis's Klaue become a little bit closer to his comic book incarnation.

The Real Threat Of Klaue

The sonic blaster isn't Klaue's greatest weapon, though. He's a dangerous enemy for Wakanda because of his political connections, and Klaue seems to stand at the center of the conspiracy to unseat T'Challa from the throne of Wakanda. Serkis teases a mysterious personal vendetta between Klaue and T'Challa, and explained:

"He is the bringer-down of governments. He collaborates. He's an arms dealer. He knows how to play people and he has a personal vendetta against T'Challa as well."

These comments explain why Killmonger breaks him out of jail. The rogue Wakandan recognizes a powerful potential ally, one who could help him work with outsiders against T'Challa. This conspiracy will unite Black Panther's many villains against the King of Wakanda.

The personal vendetta was revealed in Avengers: Age of Ultron. There, Tony Stark read a file that claimed Klaue was paid ten million dollars to make an assassination attempt on King T'Chaka years ago. As in the comics, Klaue's family history has long been tied to Wakanda; his great-grandfather led an attempt to capture the nation back in the 19th century, and died in battle with that generation's Black Panther. Still, I can't help suspecting there'll be an even more personal reason for Klaue's hatred of T'Challa...

In a later interview with CBR, Serkis describes Klaue as a wheeler-and-dealer who knows how to bring down a government. These skills and political connections, cultivated over years of work as an arms dealer, mean he's a very dangerous threat to Wakanda indeed. Ironically, given he doesn't exactly seem stable in the trailer, I can't help wondering if this "personal vendetta" will actually prove helpful to the Black Panther. A cold, logical Klaue would be a fearsome foe indeed — but one whose rage gets the better of him, and who has a desire for bloodlust and vengeance? That's a man who can be tricked into making mistakes.

So there you have it; Andy Serkis's Klaue will return in Black Panther, and now we know a little more about the part his character will play. The film will see T'Challa face a dangerous conspiracy, one that unites Wakandan insurrectionists and foreign foes. Will Klaue achieve his goal? Will the secrets of Wakanda be revealed to the wider world at last? Only the Black Panther stands between him and victory.

[Sources: CinemaBlend, ComicBookResources]

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A Personal Vendetta: Andy Serkis Discusses Ulysses Klaue's Villainous Motivations In 'Black Panther'
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