Expectations of a Black Panther project were upped last month, after Marvel introduced a new multi-part Black Panther character retrospective, starting from his initial intro in 1966, in "Fantastic Four #52" by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, through the present incarnation of the black superhero from the fictional African nation of Wakanda.
It provided a quick and tidy education for those of us not familiar with the character's background, and the Marvel universe he belongs to overall; and it also encouraged further speculation that Marvel published a retrospective on the character in anticipation of what might be an announcement of a Black Panther movie or TV project (finally!) after years of rumors and conjecture.
As history will show, whenever Marvel has published character retrospectives on any of its superheroes, they've eventually been followed by announcements of screen adaptations of those same characters - whether soon after, or later down the road.
Time will obviously tell in Black Panther's case, but it's certainly fun to speculate, based on available evidence. And it all seems inevitable.
A year ago, there were rumors that Chadwick Boseman was Marvel's top choice to play the character, something I wasn't surprised by, assuming it was (and still is) true. Marvel never confirmed those rumors. But it didn't reject them either.
However, Boseman is just one of several black actors whose name has been said to be attached to a Black Panther movie at one time or another - none of them ever confirmed by Marvel however.
The studio has certainly helped fuel some of the rumors, dropping Easter eggs in past movies and TV series, hinting at the potential for not only an eventual appearance by Black Panther in one of its upcoming projects, but other Marvel characters as well, as the studio continues to expand its comic book universe on the screen.
For example, at the end of "Iron Man 2," in addition to Tony Stark watching video of the Hulk’s college attack in "The Incredible Hulk," there just happens to be a map of the world, on the wall behind him, on which certain areas are circled - one of them being within the African continent, suggesting Black Panther's fictional African nation, Wakanda, where he is king.
There was also a rumor earlier this year that Black Panther will make his first big screen appearance in the next "Avengers" movie, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" - the sequel that was announced in May 2012, after the successful release of "The Avengers," which Joss Whedon, the director of the first film, is also directing, and which is scheduled for release on May 1, 2015.
And to add fuel to the fire, a couple of days ago, Marvel parent company Disney, announced release dates for 5 more movies, scheduled for premieres between 2017 and 2019. But titles for each of those films weren't provided, leaving the press and fans to speculate. Could a Black Panther movie be assigned to one of those dates?
Time will tell...
John Boyega seems interested in the role, as the actor teased the potential for his casting via his Twitter page yesterday.
Marvel role? ....hehehe ... I'm dam right aiming for it
— John Boyega (@JBoyega) July 22, 2014
Currently booking flight to wakanda
— John Boyega (@JBoyega) July 22, 2014
He could certainly be joking. Although, as an actor of some recognition and reach, I think it's probably not the best idea for him to stir up any unnecessary speculation, if he's not indeed on Marvel's short list of candidates for Black Panther.
But Marvel does seem to like to keep any announcements of its upcoming projects to itself, and if Boyega was indeed of interest to them, I'd assume that they would insist that he keep the news to himself until they are ready to make it public. So take what he says with a grain of salt. It could all be just in jest.
Also worth noting is that Comic-Con is just around the corner, where Marvel Studios will be for a panel, and, as some expect, will come bearing gifts - like announcements of what the above 5 upcoming titles set for release over the next 5 years, will be.
Read Marvel's "Path of the Black Panther: A Retrospective" HERE. As one of the commenters on part 1 of the retro series asks: "Does this mean you're giving him a series soon? or a Movie? or at least an animated appearance in Marvel Universe on Disney XD? Because you guys don't usually do something like this unless you're about to announce something."
Exactly - as I said above.