“We’re talking to Marvel about Black Panther,” former Lost star Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje told MTV News at Comic-Con this past weekend. “This is the first round, so you know, hopefully they’ll look at G.I. Joe and see the potential. But it’s about time we have a black superhero, isn’t it?”
It is about time, Mr. Eko. And Marvel Studios has in their grasp a great potential starting point for launching a black superhero into the mainstream. Black Panther was one of the first modern black superheroes in comics, penned first in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The head of state of the Panther tribe in the African nation of Wakanda, the Black Panther uses a heart-shaped herb that grants its user enhanced strength, agility and perception, much like the large feline upon which his costume is based. The modern day Black Panther, known as T’Challa, joined up with The Avengers for a period of time and has also appeared in books with The Fantastic Four and Daredevil.
If you’ll take a walk back in time with me, you’ll remember that director John Singleton said that he was approached to develop a Black Panther film back in 2007, but that has since gone by the wayside. In a Variety report dated March 26, 2009 though, Marvel Studios admitted to the fact that they were gathering “scribes [to] help Marvel come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, such as Black Panther, Cable, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Nighthawk and Vision.” It stands to reason that they could be putting feelers out for actors, directors and other crew for smaller, surprise productions. Marvel does like to put on a good show, even if it means keeping us in the dark on stuff — we all remember the stunt with keeping the Samuel L. Jackson cameo in Iron Man. I wouldn’t put it past them.
As well, the studio now has a ton of momentum with Iron Man 2 wowing audiences at Comic-Con, heading for another successful release. If they can get Paramount on board, they could jump start some of these smaller movies quickly. Finally, lets not rule out the possibility of Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Black Panther in one of the upcoming superhero films, such as Captain America, Thor or Iron Man 2. Or even The Avengers. Who knows what’s happening out there in Manhattan Beach.
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