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There is a scene in Captain America: Civil War which happened so fast I'm not sure what I was seeing:

As the Winter Soldier is escaping the headquarters in Germany, T'Challa - sans suit - attacks him, and they fight on a staircase. At one point they have grabbed each other and pause as it seems that T'Challa's ring does something - that it reacted to proximity with Winter Soldier's metal arm, and that T'Challa's face reflected surprise at that point.

In the comments, @Mooz pointed out this clip where the 2:05 - 2:10 is the interaction I was describing above.

Obviously the ring is something special, just from the way it's handled reverentially earlier in the movie. But this scene happened too fast for me to understand what happened.

  1. Am I misunderstanding this scene? It did happen very fast.
  2. If there was something there, what does it mean? Does it indicate something about the nature of the ring, something about the nature of the arm, or both? Non-MCU answers are acceptable, as we've so little MCU exposure about Black Panther at this point.
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    I thought it was just a ring a Wakandan King wears. The surprise was about the metal arm, and just how strong Black Panther was
    – Petersaber
    May 16, 2016 at 13:19
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    I would assume that, given Wakanda is so well known for their Vibranium, that the ring would be made from it, so it very well might react to substantial combat. This might be more of an indication of just how much power the Winter Soldier is putting out, that the ring reacted.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 16, 2016 at 13:29
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    I assumed that the ring was trying to tell him that Bucky isn't who he should be fighting, actively resisting him punching a good guy.
    – Valorum
    May 16, 2016 at 13:57
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    Definitely did not notice anything significant concerning his ring during this scene. Maybe I missed something, will pay attention when I see it again, but you might be reading into things.
    – DCShannon
    May 17, 2016 at 17:55
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    I saw Civil War again yesterday, and I think that in the scene you’re talking about, Black Panther’s surprise was actually due to him struggling with the Winter Soldier’s metal/robot arm. I can definitely see how it seems like maybe our focus is meant to be on the ring, but I think the sound effect we hear is the one used for the Winter Soldier’s arm, and Black Panther’s surprise is purely due to him finding out how strong the arm is. Jun 2, 2016 at 16:10

4 Answers 4

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Apparently, Nothing.

After a bit of Google-Fu, it would appear that Black Panther's ring does not, in fact, do anything special. The ring goes unmentioned in the "powers and abilities" section of the Black Panther page on both Wikipedia and the Marvel Wiki. The ring is also not listed as a use of Vibranium on the Wikipedia page about the metal. In addition, this article states that

Assuming Civil War and the future Black Panther movie stay true to the comic book origins, Black Panther's ring can't really "do" anything. To understand the importance of Black Panther's ring, you have to go back and look at what Black Panther is actually doing in Civil War — which is fighting alongside the Avengers.

In short, Black Panther's ring does not have any special properties in and of itself. It is important as a symbol, but not as a useful tool. T'Challa's surprise is more likely due (as has been mentioned in the comments) to surprise at how strong Bucky's arm was.

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    1. Given the lack of primary source data this early in Black Panther's movie career, I'm not sure we can make a negative inference based on many secondary sources being silent.
    – gowenfawr
    May 21, 2016 at 13:59
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    2. I don't imagine T'Challa was surprised at Bucky's arm strength. He'd already had an extended battle hand-to-hand battle with Bucky, which included Bucky using his arm as a surfboard on the highway, culminating in watching Bucky being strapped to a chair in a Thor-quality containment cell. He's met the arm already. And his Wakandan intelligence agency has surely given him all the 411 available (he has the resources of a king, remember). If anything he should have been surprised that he was able to wrestle with the Arm of Doom for more than 3 seconds! And I don't get that vibe either.
    – gowenfawr
    May 21, 2016 at 14:01
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The ring does have special abilities. In the words of Anthony Russo, Co-Director of Civil War,

Black Panther’s ring is special to him because it was worn by his father, the king. When he puts it on for the first time in Civil War, it’s symbolic of him taking on his father’s role. As for it’s [sic] powers, we will all have to wait for the Black Panther movie.

In Black Panther, the ring doesn't do anything special, but another Wakandan ring is able to

disrupt T'Challa's Black Panther armor.

Based off the two scenes, it appears the royal rings have the ability to affect metal, which T'Challa's ring is doing to the titanium in Bucky's arm in Civil War.

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    The only thing I remember doing that was the maglev, when did that happen?
    – Izkata
    Feb 20, 2018 at 2:12
  • @Izkata When Black Panther attempts to stop Erik from rescuing Klaue, he's forced back by Erik's ring.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Feb 20, 2018 at 3:04
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    @RogueJedi I thought he was forced back by the Vibranium-powered gun Erik fired at T'challa. That's what caused him to fly backward, at least. And then he didn't get up to pursue him because he saw the ring that Erik Killmonger had and realized it matched his own, meaning it came from T'challa's grandfather somehow.
    – TylerH
    Feb 20, 2018 at 16:25
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I believe you are talking about his Arctic vibranium ring. To the best of my knowledge Bucky's arm is made up of portions of vibranium and another unknown metal, so it's strong but not as durable as its pure counterpart. This is why in the scene only portions of Bucky's arm react to the Arctic vibranium, alerting Black Panther to his presence.

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    Hi! I would recommend adding some sources and references to give your answer more weight.
    – Marakai
    May 21, 2016 at 7:00
  • Maybe edit your answer? Capital letters for proper nouns, correct usage of apostrophes, etc. I suggest checking out the Tour to get a better idea of how to ask and answer questions here. May 21, 2016 at 8:49
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Buck's metal arm catches Cap's shield and it's also made of vibranium but there's no reaction like in this scene so it's not vibranium that's causing the reaction. More like the powers of the Black Panther in the ring.

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