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Marvel Boss Talks 'Black Panther' Movie, Says It's Difficult To Create World, Setting

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 16, 2012 9:29 AM
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luke cage black panther

To be honest, I'm really getting bored with all these Black Panther movie teases. If it's going to happen Marvel Entertainment, then, damnit, make it so! Just do it! You continue to announce new projects, one after the other, whether sequels to existing franchises, or properties you haven't explored on film yet; but, despite years of conversation about this, still no definite move on Black Panther, or really any other black superhero in your library, since Blade... right?

As Ed Lover would say, come on son

At Comic-Con over the weekend, Marvel confirmed the upcoming movies: Iron Man 3Thor 2, Captain America 2, and new film properties in Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man.

In an interview with MTV, Marvel Studios co-president Louis D'Esposito was asked about a potential Black Panther movie, and this is what he had to say:

"He has a lot of the same characteristics of a Captain America: great character, good values... But it's a little more difficult, maybe, creating [a world like Wakanda]. It's always easier basing it here. For instance, 'Iron Man 3' is rooted right here in Los Angeles and New York. When you bring in other worlds, you're always faced with those difficulties."

So, let me get this straight - it's apparently not-so difficult to create the fictional worlds in Thor, or the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy (with its bizarre team of interstellar heroes), but Wakanda will be more of a challenge? I hope that's not what's holding up a Black Panther movie. 

But let me look at this more optimistically; maybe they're taking their time with Black Panther, because they want to make sure that they don't mess it up; they want to get the Black Panther universe right, so when they are good and ready, it'll be one heck of a movie, right?

With today's technology, there's really no excuse for why this has to be anymore of a challenge than any other fictional world created on film. It's been years since Peter Jackson impressed the world with his Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I hadn't read any of the books, but Middle-Earth looked real enough for me.

And let's say that is indeed the hold-up for a Black Panther movie; there are other Black superheroes in Marvel's library that can be looked at - Luke Cage being one of them. Dude was born and raised in Harlem, NYC. Shouldn't be much of a problem creating that world, should it.

And I'm not saying that the movie will never happen; I'm just having a hard time being optimistic about it, after years of talk, news here, news there, but nothing has come from all that. And when I hear comments like these, they don't boost my confidence much.

I'm a black man; I'm inherently cynical when it comes to Hollywood matters like this; sue me. 

As I said in a previous post, I'd love to see a fan-made Black Panther short film, as we've seen done with other projects. It'll obviously require some dollars, but maybe one of these actors campaigning for the role can put together some resources and shoot a 10-minute short film, and use that to maybe bolster their chances of starring in the feature film version, but also it could help accelerate the creation of one.

Watch the interview below:

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  • Frank Jone$ | May 15, 2014 12:58 PMReply

    honestly I'm tired of all these movies with these white superheroes like they the only people that can save the world everybody knows black people were the first people on this planet and we will be the last man on this planet anything anybody else can do black people do it 10 times better and it's a proven fact all because we have melanin inside of my soul and is nothing nobody can ever do to get out of it I really think they haven't made a move because they don't want to see white people getting overthrown by black people is obvious I can rant all day about this but it makes no sense how come they can make a movie about an ant superhero what kind of s*** is that to all you racist white folks I give you the finger

  • Joan Frank$ | August 25, 2014 2:24 PM

    While there are many things about what you said that made me cringe, your entire paragraph doesn't have a single period in it.

  • The painful TRUTH | April 3, 2013 8:25 PMReply

    Nah, no thank you, I'd rather Marvel pass on a Black Panther movie. I can come up with about a hundred reasons why this is a bad idea. A short Avenger cameo is fine (and all that's really necessary), but that's it. For the movie to even have a slight chance at success , the majority of the lead actors would have to be African by way of England. No generic Nigerian-ish accents from painfully obvious African-American actors thank you very much. It makes no sense to blow a huge budget on such a gamble of a character, who would really have no part in Marvel's cinematic universe outside of a vibranium witch-hunt. Now let's talk demographics, which DO matter, and the regions of the world Marvel largely profits from outside of the states, are predominantly white. Blade was a Vampire flick that wasn't associated with Marvel (at the time), unless you really payed attention to the credits, and was NOTHING like the actual character of the books; It was made instead to custom fit Snipes which was the REAL reason it did so well. It also had a balanced cast, some of whom appealed to the majority demographic. Storm was terribly casted as was the first James Rhodes (War Machine). I've got my fingers crossed with Falcon (whose kinda cheesy to begin with), but I ain't holding my breath. I'd rather them leave their one sacred Black character to the books, which don't last very long themselves (even after a good run). If I were Marvel, I too would leave my $100-$200mil, right where it's at.

    Side note: Michael Jai White is often brought up a T'challa candidate by nucklehead fanboys but instead makes a PEFECT Luke Cage, just putting that out there in the Marvel U.

  • bulletthehedgehog | January 18, 2013 3:17 AMReply

    overall i think their full of shit cus in the video he continuously stuttered n tried to come up with something and ended with a thump on the bp talk. thats why we need to step in and say fuck those clowns and buy bp and make his movies ourselves.

  • bulletthehedgehog | January 18, 2013 3:01 AMReply

    if you notice captain america is more patriotic and on roids, black panther is a human but i think scrused up with panther powers but has a highly advanced metal non metal suit with many different weapons, cap is a upbeat attitude patriotic guy for america, and panther understands the racist views of america and has a more serious concience if i spelled that right. they are completely different and i think the directors are shying away due to the fact that racism is involved and has to be involved. notice how other comics and comic movies are about the USA but dont even tap the surface of racism. unless its against the jewish like in that new xman movie.

  • Anonymous | January 12, 2013 11:00 AMReply

    They should definitely have a black panther movie but t'challa should be white.

  • DARKK-GABLE | November 14, 2012 10:31 PMReply


  • Adam Mangum | October 17, 2012 4:16 PMReply

    It would be really easy to make a Black Panther movie. Marvel is just waiting for the right time to make it. It took them forever, but they are finally making an Ant-Man movie. I just can't stand it when they say there isn't any black superheroes in the MCU. There was Blade, War Machine, though not a superhero Nick Fury, and now the Falcon will be in the next Captain America movie. Also they can only have a certain number of people in the Avengers group at one time.

  • joaime | October 26, 2012 1:30 AM

    So... WM is more of a sidekick, same with Falcon, Nick isnt a superhero. Yes they can have too many but BP could squeeze in. No Wolverine and Spiderman in the movie they could take it over. Think about all the movies out there and only 4 significant black people everyone white

  • Xmasevebaby | October 12, 2012 10:32 PMReply

    Back in 2005, Reggie Hudlin and John Romita, Jr. created a six-issue arc called "Who Is The Black Panther?" It flowed like a summer popcorn movie, containing elements of Batman Begins, James Bond, and an epic third act that rivaled the final battle in the Avengers movie.

    Was it perfect? No, but it was the most commercially accessible story in the character's 40+ year history.

    Could it be retooled for the big screen? Absolutely, but it's going to take the effort of a talented writer/director who can finally convince Marvel Studios that they have a new film franchise on their hands if the powers that be could learn to think outside of their gated communities.

  • Victoria Haden | September 17, 2012 10:55 PMReply

    Marvel will never make a Black Panther movie especially since its owned by Disney which is probably using lessons learned from The Princess and the Frog as a basis for not allowing a Black Panther movie.

    To be honest, white people would never see a movie with the name Black Panther (goodness I can imagine Fox News having a fit), with a black lead that isn't Will Smith.

    I also think Marvel fears offending blacks. I remember how upset blacks were at The Princess and the Frog (hence why Disney would NEVER greenlight another movie with a black lead). And it doesn't get more "offensive" than the jungle to a black person unfamiliar with Marvel comics or cartoons.

    Black Panther will simply not exist in the film versions. Most people wouldn't know it and those that did most certainly wouldn't care.

  • THIS White Person Would Happily See A Movie Named Black Panther | June 17, 2013 8:20 PM

    'Nuff said.

  • jaime | October 26, 2012 1:40 AM

    Fuck white people. Not everything is for them. Is its such an issue just change the name to something like The King of Wakanda. Its not supposed to be a black movie its supposed to be about an awesome superhero. So what its could be called Black Panther, so what it features an African/African American man. Deal with it. Marvel, youve got gold material in your hands dont keep teasing us with it.So what he can fight a white man, its not racist, just like a white hero fighting a black villain, BP is my fav marvel superhero dont ruin him bcuz of supposed racialness

  • Joshua Cox | August 25, 2012 6:34 PMReply

    Wakanda could be depicted realistically as an African nation exploited by U.S. foreign policy and corporations.

  • jeda | August 4, 2012 5:13 AMReply

    I have the perfect guy to play T'Challa - Jacky Ido. He is an unknown actor from Africa (Ouagadougou/ Burkina Faso) I think he would be great as the panther. Also Djimon Hounsou as T'Chaka & Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as M'Baku & Chiwetel Ejiofor as another supporting character.

  • Wotanubis | July 27, 2012 10:10 AMReply

    I want to see Alfonso Ribeiro as Black Panther.

  • Said in Los Angeles | July 20, 2012 5:38 PMReply

    Interesting article. Too one of your points Tambay, Black Panther actually stars in a live action fan film we're close to completing now. In the scene Black Panther has a conversation with Vixen regarding Strom, and BP is then confronted by Green Lantern (John Stewart). Director for that sequence is Tim Russ (Star Trek Voyagers Tuvak). That’s all I can revel, here’s an early vignette with director Howard Simpson... Enjoy, keep you posted

  • Alphnz | September 1, 2012 5:36 PM

    Why would Green Lantern meet with Black Panther, Green Lantern is a DC superhero.

  • Barry Williams | July 18, 2012 12:10 AMReply

    racist ass bastards

  • Ron | July 17, 2012 10:29 PMReply

    The [continued] fear of depending on a minority to carry a film. Hollywood still is not comfortable with the idea, nor do they desire to invest in them.

    That's what he means by challenge. If Black Panther were Irish or another White male, Black Panther 2 would have been announced this past weekend at SDCC12.

    There's too much emphasis placed on race. At his core, Black Panther is a great character, so deliver that. We don't need Black issues or African issues, we want to see a new superhero face superhero issues. This does not have to be a message or a film that has to cater to spotlighting social issues in Black communities or anything of the sort. We just want to see characters of color and women get the same treatment as their White, male counterparts.

    There's an origin story to be told, as all superhero movies do. Tell that as you did with Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Introduce the next generation of comic book fans to this great character. End of story.

  • Donella | July 20, 2012 4:58 PM

    Don't know else to tell you.

  • Charles Judson | July 19, 2012 6:14 PM

    I guess my response below was kind of wasted since you wrote this: "strong writing, direction, acting, action, and music will bring the fans." Although I'm not sure how BLADE influenced THE MATRIX? Most modern action films at best have been able to start shooting no later than 12 to 13 months before their release date. THE MATRIX, released in March of 1999, was already well into production by the time BLADE was released in August of 1998, a scant 7 months later, and needed an extra 4 months for Martial Arts training for the actors. Even then I still don't see the connection.

  • Donella | July 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    But in the first Blade (the best, IMO), Wesley's female lead was N'Bushe Wright with a few of the supporting cast being a mixture of Black, Asian, White. Then each following movie 2 & 3 slowly disappeared Wesley Snipes (and Blade), until they ran the franchise into the dirt, which was unfortunate. The first Blade's story and characters were written strong, the acting was good, the music and action superb (influencing The Matrix a year later). As a result, fans supported the film. If Black Panther or Luke Cage get greenlit (likely with the necessary social/cultural updates to bring it to today's audience), strong writing, direction, acting, action, and music will bring the fans. I believe it can happen. Just please, do not hire Ryan Reynolds for any role. Please.

  • Vincent | July 19, 2012 11:13 AM

    Thank you Ron, thank you.

  • Lee | July 18, 2012 5:28 PM

    I don't think it's about being afraid of a minority carrying a film. They still put Denzel and Don Cheadle upfront. What they are scared of is making a black movie. If Panther was a black man set in a place that is prodominately white (like a NY or LA) then they would just hire Michael Jai White and cast Elizabeth Olson as his love interest. Their problem is they've talked themselves into believing that white people won't go see a movie about Africans (even if the actual place is fictional).

  • ALM | July 18, 2012 4:51 PM

    Yet, Hollywood still takes a chance to depend on actresses like Jennifer Anniston and Kate Hudson to carry films. Both actresses are highly paid and are considered A-List, yet a good 70% of their films flop.

    Also, how do "they" in Hollywood know if a person of color can "carry" a film if "they" never give the person the chance? Look at the numbers TLAM did. Before TLAM was released, Hollywood swore up and down that no one wanted to see people of color in the movies.

    The devil is a liar, and a lot of Hollywood execs apparently are liars too.

  • Donella | July 18, 2012 1:27 PM

    Totally agree, especially on focusing on the origin.

  • d_rock | July 17, 2012 8:07 PMReply

    Black super-hero films haven't been the "movies to watch" as of late and they are keeping an eye on that. Movies such as "Steel" with Shaq O'neal proves their point. If they rush the project they won't do the character justice... Steel could have been so much better if they included the Superman Mythos behind it (yes I know it's DC and not Marvel). Or another Super-hero parody movie "Blankman" with Damon Wayans... I won't even get into that one... but using those two examples of how they introduced African Americans headlining as a super-hero is bad on their part. "Blade" thank goodness was somewhat a success up until the third film probably. Any other time an African-American was portrayed in a Hero film (Besides Hancock...) They were supporting characters or killed off (sadly) (Darwin in X-Men: First Class). I am definitely looking forward to a BP movie (Djimon Hounsou or Michael Jai White are my picks), but if we think about the challenges... a cast comprising of ALL/MAJORITY of African-Americans, tie-in to the current Marvel Universe, a PROPER introduction of the Character, finding a person DESERVING of the Black Panther Mantle, and finding a Proper Villain (Man-Ape, or Ulysses Klaw). I don't think the setting/world of Wakanda will be a major factor once those elements are out of the way... but they do have to make African Wakanda believable... like he said, Iron Man is based here so he's easier to work with... these people know nothing of Africa, so if the movie isn't great, they have to deal with the African Americans here, and the Africans abroad... which is something they aren't ready to deal with... But if they ever do make this movie, it will be an epic one... I HOPE!

  • Phianki | July 23, 2012 12:04 AM

    D Rock isnt that the Black Panther Origin Story in a nutshell anyway? If not then I'm sorry, but either way it sounds like the perfect movie plot for BP.... as far as doing the casting, they could always hit up the nigerian film industry.... its growing and is more popular in africa right now than blooy or hollywood... there go the extras... the setting of Wakanda cant be too difficult if they did Asgard, and you can always pull out Middle Earth and how they did that.... at least Wakanda is on Earth..... I just know in my soul they're gonna make this movie... but I do believe this is one character that stan lee will not allow anyone to fuck up working on.....

  • Ghost | July 19, 2012 5:28 PM

    Steel was written by the same folks that introduced him in the comic. They really couldn't use Superman without explaining that he died. They wanted the movie to stand alone. It was the same case with Catwoman. Part of the reason why DC & even Marvel struggles with film is too many folks are linked to others. You can't do Teen Titans without Batman, WW, Flash & Green Arrow being shown first. Static and Black Panther don't have those restrictions. You just have folks that don't want to entertain the idea that a Static or BP movie could make more than Avengers, Spider-Man or Batman. Or even make a profit.

  • d_rock | July 17, 2012 8:25 PM

    Possible story-line
    Threats have been made of a Hostile take over of Wakanda from Domestic and Foreign invaders for precious Vibranium. (Iron Man wanted this at one point to explore uses for his Armor) T'chaka, current leader and Black Panther of Wakanda, has protected this Nation since his father's passing. His Son, T'Challa, is at odds with his father believing that the outside world has a lot to offer and vice-versa since Wakandan technology has found cures for diseases others believe to be incurable. T'Challa leaves to receive education outside of Wakanda against the High Council and T'Chaka's will. During his departure his Father is challenged for Rule and is believed to be "assasinated" and called home immediately for the funeral. Man-Ape, who challenged T'Chaka, is now leader of Wakanda, to many of the Wakandans disgust and the High Council pleads with T'Challa to challenge Man-Ape for the right to rule Wakanda and become the new Black Panther. T'Challa is at an odds over what he should do and eventually challenges to become ruler and new Black Panther. But Man-Ape has done damage to the once isolated country by making connections with foreign countries for the Vibranium deposits and the ending reveals another character from the BP enemy gallery.... Just a thought

  • Name Olu | July 17, 2012 7:06 PMReply

    Mr Judson's comments are well thought out and make a lot of sense. Marvel can't rush into making a Black Panther movie, if it wants to be faithful to the original source - the comic books. Unlike the previous Marvel adaptions, i.e. Iron Man, a BP movie would have to be taken seriously , more in line with the Nolan Batman films. Also you would need a young theatre actor in his early twenties who can convey a variety of emotions and skills who can demostrate how to play both a leader of a small african kingdom and also be taken seriously wearing a mask . Another probelm Marvel has is how do you bring Wakanda to life ? that is believable to movie-goer . Do you protray it as third-world country on the rise or as a technology- advanced country as in the comic books. Also what is the threat against Wakanda that motivates T'challa ? Is it a neo-colonised threat from the west i.e. America or is it a intenal threat from within i.e. Africans Obiviously, it would be suicidal for Marvel to use a westener as the villain for the piece if they want mainstream America to flock to movie theatres to see the movie. So all those critics crying out ''racism'' have to understand the various complexities Marvel studios faces in bringing the Black Panther to the big screen.

  • Marie | July 17, 2012 9:19 AMReply

    "But it's a little more difficult, maybe, creating [a world like Wakanda]. " Sorry, this sounds like the typical cop-out whenever a project has a majority non-white cast. Suddenly, all of these really smart and capable moviemakers become incredibly dumb. I think the issue is that people in the decision-making positions in Hollywood live insular lives. For example, the only Hispanics they know are the Mexicans who mow their lawns. I believe that these people think non-whites are completely foreign entities who do not have the same thoughts and feelings as white people. White people are universal but everyone else is specific. It's a lack of imagination and prejudiced (NOT racist). As someone else said, they had no problem (badly) imagining Thor's fictional world yet the fictional world of a black guy is an impossible challenge?! Marketing movies with silly white people is doable but marketing a movie with brown-skinned people is an impossible challenge?! Not buying it.

  • Charles Judson | July 20, 2012 6:40 PM

    Agreed, it can be done. If I could add a non-sarcastic double thumbs up to show how much I agree I would. And I'm still optimistic that we'll see a BP movie in the next few years. :-)

  • Donella | July 20, 2012 4:57 PM

    I think it can be done. :-)

  • Charles Judson | July 19, 2012 5:10 PM

    Suspending disbelief isn't the same as overlooking plot holes. Sci-fans and geeks in general can accept fantastical characters and worlds, but reject the stories built around those characters and worlds either in whole or in part, which is one element that's been empowering fandom for decades. However, that requires a character to be so compelling they can resonate independent of the story. As for General Audiences, that's not something they've really subscribed to. The Terminator wouldn't have become a pop-icon if the film had had a subpar script. Also sci-fi and comic book audiences have become much more demanding in the last 30 years. Once geeks got films like ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, and shows like TNG or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and got them on a regular basis, they've not settled. Syfy's current shows may not always be MAD MEN level of writing, but compared to what was in syndication in the 1980s and 1990s it's still a vast improvement. As a sequel to a popular franchise, with an actor audiences like, and featuring both a general and fanboy/fangirl favorite character, X-MEN: WOLVERINE didn't do anymore business than X-MEN: FIRST CLASS with a bunch of unknowns and was basically a reboot, and did $80 million less than X-MEN 3, which was the weakest film of the trilogy. WOLVERINE is a film that could have at least matched X-MEN 3 and with a vastly improved script, and likely following up a stronger X3, had a reasonable shot at breaking $500 million worldwide. The Next Generation films went from doing $140 million to doing $67 million by the end, with fans of the show disappointed in the nose dive the films took. Unless Black Panther is setup in one of the other franchises and becomes a breakout character a BP film won't have any help to get him launched--which if they pull a Deadpool like they did with Wolverine, will make it difficult for BP to gain momentum to be pushed to front burner. The character also doesn't have the benefit of being prominently featured in any of the AVENGERS cartoons over the last 20 years. So if you want to kill a BLACK PANTHER franchise at the moment of its birth a sure way to do it would be to give audiences a film with plot holes, an underwhelming story, featuring a Black character, with a poorly translated world, that may or may not have a star they recognize. They haven't done a SHAFT sequel and that made more than twice its budget. You give audiences a just okay film and is so underwhelming that even your main star loses interest out of disappointment and doesn't want a second shot at making SHAFT into a Black Dirty Harry/James Bond series, you get a recipe for a dead franchise.

  • Donella | July 19, 2012 3:21 PM

    Quite a few scifi films suffer from plot holes (or dangling plot points). But it doesn't stop scifi fans from suspending disbelief. This project can be done, if the will for it to be done exists.

  • Charles Judson | July 17, 2012 7:47 PM

    World-building is common, building a world that works, makes sense, holds together and can generate interesting story ideas, and results in few or no plot holes, isn't. Go back and rewatch the movie THOR. What's their government? Odin rules absolutely, but is that really for every little thing? What kind economy do they have? Besides a truce with the frost giants what other alliances do they have? Where are the people? What do those folks wear? What if you don't have any powers, how do you function? What do people do for fun? Where are the kids? Where does everyone else live? So many of those questions are irrelevant, they're supposed to be gods. Wakanda is a nation-state that has a history that stretches back 10,000 years and is not a home to gods but to flesh and blood people. Those questions will be important. Black Panther is the living embodiment of the Panther God, or in some versions connected to the Panther God, either way he's still human. Unlike Thor or Iron Man, Black Panther's world is a mixture of science and magic, which could pose a problem. It's been established in Thor that magic is just an advanced form of science in the Marvel films. Black Panther gets his powers eating herbs. Those powers come from the Panther God. So is/was the Panther God an advanced being? If so where is he? Are the herbs something that unlocks human potential or give powers a la the super soldier serum. If so does that tie into the vibranium deposits that are supposed to be from a crashed meteorite? Or is that coincidence? If the herb is just an extension of advanced science how does that impact judging someone if they're worthy for the Black Panther mantle? Or will Black Panther establish that there are true gods above Thor? Is the U.S. one of the few countries aware of vibranium? If so how far back does their knowledge go? If everyone else knows how far back does their knowledge go? Is Wakanda a nation engaged with world affairs or standoffish? How does Wakanda interact with other nations? How do other African nations that have had their major resources taken over or exploited feel and interact with Wakanda? In the comics Wakanda has been portrayed as still having a tribal government but not a democracy. Does that still make sense in 2012 in a film? You officially make Black Panther the embodiment of a true god that can make for uneasy consequences and implications if Wakanda isn't a functioning democracy. Make Wakanda a constitutional monarchy and add a parliamentary body and you now can create tension and conflict. An example would be his sister leveraging a party she's a member of to create a coalition to legally usurp T'Challa since she's been judged as unworthy for the Black Panther mantle. If Wakanda has never been conquered and has remained more myth than fact, only known to a few, cool. If nations have known about Wakanda for centuries it becomes difficult and or tricky, but not impossible, to explain what role Wakanda played in fighting the colonization that was occurring around them and what they did or didn't do in WWII. You could make them look like a**holes who stayed out of the fight, merely standoffish, or strategically brilliant understanding that taking on the entire world, even if they could win, might have been a Faustian bargain. Either of those options could have lots of dramatic possibilities. Lean to far to one side though and you could step into a landmine of cliches and stereotypes, lean to far to other and make for a world that feels a little to fascist. Some elements will work, some will be too cheesy and some will be hard to explain without having to use exposition. If Marvel wants to stick to the rules they've created in previous films, they have to make Black Panther fit into that. Unless they remove or rework huge chunks of what helps define Black Panther and his world, there are lots of potential hurdles. Elements that work in the comics and in film always take on a new reality when you have a live human being saying those words and taking those actions. And while not all of the answers to these questions will ever be seen on screen, an inability answer any of them can create huge plot holes, especially if the story extends out to multiple films. Yes, I'm a geek for writing this. I'm also someone who was part of a local start-up comic book collective and served as an editor and writer for almost four years. These are just the beginning of the questions I would ask and points I would raise if you were world building.

  • Donella | July 17, 2012 1:33 PM

    I agree that the difficulty of creating other worlds is a crap excuse. World-building is common and almost always required in science fiction/fantasy. But its easier to say that than, we don't believe we can (or want to) sell a Black-dominated world to a White audience.

  • Charles Judson | July 17, 2012 10:51 AM

    I would read this IGN writeup about Black Panther. I think it covers the facets that make Black Panther a strong character, but also makes him a challenging one to adapt for the screen, which is true for many Marvel characters compared to D.C.'s lineup. The more I think about it, the more I think Black Panther would work better as a show than a film. Or, they would need to approach the character like Nolan did with Batman and need to think of the movies as one continuous story and not episodically. Hell, if they do it right I think the Black Panther as a hero and a major political figure he could be the key to setting up and cracking the Avengers sequel. As the leader of a nation, one that folks have tried to conquer over and over again, I could definitely see Black Panther strategically working with other nations and other heroes, even ones he's wary of, to ensure that the world is protected from the likes of a Thor or a Hulk going rogue or becoming the pawn of another nation. And for folks who haven't seen the various versions of what Wakanda has looked like, I suggest a quick glance. Like with Batman and Gotham City or Superman and Metropolis or Spider-man and New York, Wakanda is a major part of the character. We should be pushing for them to get it right, not get just get it done.

  • Charles Judson | July 17, 2012 2:31 AMReply

    Wakanda has at times looked mythical with giant panther statues everywhere to a more provincial village with the technology blended into the architecture to a country with palatial skyscrapers that looks 50 to 6o years ahead of other cities in the Marvel Universe. Wakanda has (almost) never looked like any contemporary country in Africa. When a budget can run as high as $300 million as it did for the original drafts for THOR before they got it down to $150 million, then yes, it can be difficult from a budget perspective. From a plausibility perspective it can be even more difficult. You only have to take a look at the WTF designs for Tim Burton's idea of Superman or rewatch BATMAN AND ROBIN to be reminded how wrong and off track a production can go design wise, and how a franchise can be killed. Even if B&R did $240 million worldwide, which was a $100 million drop from the previous Batman film and $17o million less than the first Tim Burton BATMAN film. DAREDEVIL was such a so so film that even doing $178 million on a $78 million budget they still haven't done a sequel, and it's been 9 years. The ELEKTRA spin-off was a flop and didn't help. The first GHOST RIDER film did $220 million on a $110 million budget and they then cut the budget for the sequel to $57 million. THE PUNISHER series never took off, with the sequel doing $10 million on a budget of $35 million. The first CAPTAIN AMERICA movie from 1990 is so bad, and the character difficult to translate to screen, it took 21 years before another film was made, while a third tier character like BLADE got a trilogy before one of Marvel's flagship characters did. Even Iron Man got a sequel before Captain America's first film was even released. And of course there are the Hulk films that did alright business, but for featuring one of the few Marvel characters as well known as Spider-man, were underwhelming performers. We can peg this reluctance to "racism" or a lack of conviction, but Marvel's own track record demonstrates that if handled incorrectly it's easy as hell to get a Black Panther film not in the vein of IRON MAN or even CAPTAIN AMERICA. If that happens at worst Marvel has a box office dud. At best they have a stillborn franchise that makes money but audiences aren't interested in seeing continue. Having watched studios botch their characters for decades, Marvel has a vested (and justified) interest in taking their time with Black Panther. And to Sunshine's Baby point, not having the best animated adaptation definitely doesn't help. It hurts. It's a sub par cartoon (rewatching the last episode is painful) with unsubtle characters, weak dialogue, mustache twirling villains that best belong in the 1960s Spider-man, a view of U.S. that at times makes a mockery of the pernicious role the U.S. played/plays in African politics, and caps all of that off with one of the dumbest fights ever choreographed. Klaw should join Cobra so his ineptness as a villain will blend in. Just let the cartoon quietly slip into oblivion so a better version of Black Panther may live.

  • Said in Los Angeles | July 20, 2012 5:42 PM

    One of the best written response to this topic that I have ready in a long time...Cool flow, Charles Dudson, especially to as how you illustrated how Wakanda has been portrayed...

  • Michael Middleton | July 17, 2012 2:03 AMReply

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Obenson on this issue!! Wesley Snipes' Blade, and Halle Berry's Storm of the X-Men are NOT enough! And not just Super heroes of Black/African descent should be acknowledged, but heroes ranging from other backgrounds, ie, Marvel's Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu! Unfortunately, Boston's own Donnie Yen is more of a film producer now; I strongly believe he would have been perfect to cast as Shang-Chi! More female heroes should also be addressed!! Marvel, AND DC seriously need to give thought to this issue as they continue to produce films about our legendary Super heroes!! I really don't think I, and MANY others out there, am asking for too much on this; but even with all the FANTASTIC movies put out already by BOTH comics-franchises, there's always room for more development! Peace out....

  • Orville | July 17, 2012 1:13 AMReply

    I think what the Marvel boss is really a cop out. The truth is, Hollywood hasn't been developing young black male talent. Why would anyone run to the theatre to see Black Panther with an unknown? Who is going to watch? The Marvel boss is really trying to say is who is there isn't a black male actor right now who could realistically be Black Panther. I mean let's be honest here, Black Panther would have to be young under the age of forty and right now there is no black male actors with that kind of star power under forty.

    I know Shadow and Act love Idris Elba but I think he's too old to be Black Panther he's almost 40. Will Smith is probably too old he's 43, Anthony Mackie is young but isn't a star. Marvel would probably have to find an unknown to be black panther and that would be a financial risk on their part. Hollywood is all about not taking risks and maximizing their profits.

  • ALM | July 17, 2012 4:25 PM

    Jason George would be perfect, or better yet.....wait for it.....find an African actor. O__O

  • Donella | July 17, 2012 1:30 PM

    I think Michael Jai White fits the bill AND the build. But he's 40-ish too. HOWEVER, there would be a low learning curve with White since he's played comic heroes before, has produced films, and is known but not typecast to a specific franchise. I vote White for either The Panther or Luke Cage.

  • the black police | July 17, 2012 2:30 AM

    Omari Hardwick. Or Jason George.

  • | July 17, 2012 12:30 AMReply

    If it were racism why would they even be looking to make the movie? Is there anything people won't decry as racism? And the look of Wakanda is very specific, if you've read the comics you'd realize it shouldn't just be a ton of CG, and the comparisons to LOTR make no sense because those movies had a massive budget and WETA is second-to-none. Not everything is a conspiracy.

  • ALM | July 16, 2012 11:21 PMReply

    Yes, because it's SO difficult to create an African nation of strong, smart, gorgeous people of color. SMH I am floored that "Guardians Of The Galaxy" with a glock carrying raccoon got the green light before "Black Panther" did. Sad, sad, sad........ All of the talented actors and actresses are in place in both North America and Africa to make the "Black Panther" come to life. Based on the Entertainment Weekly discussion about the "Black Panther" (a discussion from last year in which I still get indications of new comments to this day), there is a huge amount of interest in the movie. All I know is, as Hollywood continues to play this game, all they are doing is forcing unknown talented directors and producers to wake up to reality. Someone else is going to have to make the "Black Panther". His technology is superior to "Iron Man's" technology. Apparently that type of imagery is too threatening to some people.

  • Miles Ellison | July 16, 2012 8:21 PMReply

    It's "difficult" to create a fictional black country with self-sufficient, dignified people who aren't minstrel clowns? The racist hard wiring is strong in this one.

  • Norm | July 16, 2012 6:37 PMReply

    Lets just call it what it is already!! When he said "Wakanda will be more of a challenge" . He means a movie that will not piss off the Black community and not have them look at it in ANY way as raciest or byist. One wrong slier here one wrong move there and we got Al Sharpton nocking on Disney's door handing out lawsuits from every one from him to some poor 3 year old kid in Zimbabwean that has no idea what is going on. I think its sick myself but that is whats on there mined and thats what will happen. O and if BP isnt in the Avengers 2 or doesn't get enough screen time watch out!!

  • ALM | July 16, 2012 11:22 PM

    Norm: Here's your seat __/ Use it.

  • Bee | July 16, 2012 8:33 PM

    Dude......STFU, for real.

  • Neziah | July 16, 2012 3:54 PMReply

    Hollywood is just lazy when it comes to putting black heroes on screen, unless it's a stereotypical one like Hancock.

  • Donella | July 16, 2012 3:22 PMReply

    I wonder how a comic book movie about The Falcon would be received? He was always one of my favorites.

  • Michael Middleton | July 17, 2012 2:14 AM

    I agree!! With the success that both Captain America and the Avengers films have enjoyed thus far, it would make sense to research the Falcon! After all, Falc fought alongside Cap for many years post Cap's defrosting, was also a fellow Avenger, aside from the Black Panther, AND was a stand-up crime fighter in his OWN right (had a few mini-series comic books), taking on small time, yet CHALLENGING Super villains exactly the same way that Spidey and Daredevil did for a long time!! (^_^)

  • Charles Judson | July 16, 2012 1:30 PMReply

    Creating a viable world for Wakanda is a huge task. We should be VERY cynical. In terms of comic books BROTHERMAN and Milestone were partially successful because they had fictional worlds that were logically consistent and out of that consistency they were able to mine those worlds and cities for stories. However, those were all Urban cities that still resembled places like Detroit, Chicago or New York. One of the biggest disappointments I had with many of the Black comics created by independents in the 1990s and 2000s was how lacking the worlds and cities were. Fictional African countries in D.C. or Marvel at best fared as well as fictional Eastern European countries did in comics. Meaning they were a collection of political and cultural cliches and stereotypes that rarely made any sense in how those countries would actually function or remain sustainable You only have to look at EXPENDABLES as a recent example of a film that has a fake country that's built on a heap of cliches about South American countries and dictators. It's at times insulting and at times doesn't make a lick of sense. But, what do you expect from a film that starts out with a firefight with Somali pirates and continues on with the 1980s theme of White Guys going to foreign countries to blow up "evil" people with Dark skin. So when's the last time you seen a contemporary mainstream film set in any county in Africa in which the country itself was featured in a way that doesn't make you cringe. Middle Earth in LOTR has the advantage of 70 years of fantasy films behind it, and like STAR WARS doesn't exist in our reality. Folks can accept that world. Black Panther has films like THE GOD'S MUST BE CRAZY, BLOOD DIAMOND and DISTRICT 9 before it, and Wakanda is actually supposed to exist in our world. How do you balance what the public perception of Africa is with a fictional country that's one of the most advanced nations on the planet? And how do you do that so it feels organic and real? I can see Marvel either making a country that's riddled with subtle or overt cliches, or overcompensate and make a nation that's more like Asgard than a country that has a credible governmental body and has to go toe to toe with Russia and the U.S. on the U.N. Security Council. The recent Batman films and stories have been able to tap Bruce Wayne's life as a playboy socialite and Wayne Industries to flesh out the world and feels grounded. With the right kind of world built, it gives you a lot of different directions to take Black Panther into and conflicts he can credibly have to wrestle with. What makes T'Challa different than Thor or Captain America is that T'Challa actually has to rule a country and his decisions outside of his uniform actually affect millions of people. Thor can go on and on about how has to be humble if he wants to one day lead Asgard, but nothing he does in the the movie has an affect on more than a few hundred folks at best. And he still has Daddy in the seat. Hardly a test of a leader. And while Captain America is symbol who leads a team, Black Panther is a symbol who has to lead a nation.

  • jason calvery | July 17, 2012 2:25 AM

    I agree with your opinion it was very insightful and made a lot of sense.

  • Michael Middleton | July 17, 2012 2:20 AM

    You bring up a lot of good points! Hopefully Marvel and DC will consider these points if they seriously try to make a Black Panther film!

  • Dankwa Brooks | July 16, 2012 1:28 PMReply

    I agree with Mark "The best way to start a Black Panther franchise is to launch the character in the next Avengers movie." They've done a good job with doing exactly that in 'The Avengers: World's Greatest Heroes' animated series. It's Hollywood. *shrug*

  • Josh | July 16, 2012 1:03 PMReply

    HHMMMMM....surprised about the feet dragging. I'm guessing we will get this in Marvel phase 3 after Avengers 2. Falcon will probably appear in Captain America:The Winter Soldier, probably played by Mackie.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | July 16, 2012 12:57 PMReply

    Ant-Man? X_X

  • ALM | July 16, 2012 11:25 PM

    Yep. They can make "Ant Man", but they can't fathom a way to make "Black Panther".

  • Sunshine's baby | July 16, 2012 11:34 AMReply

    Though it wasn't the best animation, there is a Black Panther series that was put out a few years ago and available online. So what's the problem with Marvel putting out this story? We all know what the issue is. . .

  • mark | July 16, 2012 11:11 AMReply

    The best way to start a Black Panther franchise is to launch the character in the next Avengers movie.

    I also wish whichever studio that owns Blade would relaunch the franchise. The first two movies were great. Blade was one of the first good comic movies. I loved seeing Wesley Snipes kick ass. The third movie was a dud because too much screen time was taken up by Ryan Reynolds.

    BTW, aren't all panthers black?

  • Michael Middleton | July 17, 2012 2:31 AM

    I agree. It's unfortunate how the 3rd film kills something good! Just think how much better McGuire's Spider-Man 3 would have been if, say..., JUST the Sandman was the main antagonist? The Harry Osborn revenge thing could still have been played out, but the Topher Grace/apparent need to toss Venom into the Spider-Man movie hype is what killed the film for me..! Way too much, too soon!! You could even tell Tobey McGuirewas DONE w/ this; almost like HE wanted to go back to his lines in Spider 2, and say to Hollywood: "No..,Uncle Ben/Hollywood..I'm Spider-Man NO MORE...!" That's what's UP...( '_' )...!

  • r.j. paré | July 16, 2012 3:41 PM

    Actually there are white panthers as well.

  • other song | July 16, 2012 10:37 AMReply

    when there's a will, there's a way. and it doesn't seem like there's a will on Marvel/Hollywood's part.

  • ALM | July 16, 2012 11:27 PM

    @Other Song: Exactly. There is no real reason for the hold up of this film. I have a revolutionary idea,.......wait for it........Why doesn't Marvel hire some tech experts who are actually African to help them bring the story to light properly? Also, why not hire African or African American producers/writers? It's too much like right, that's why.

  • No Nonsense | July 16, 2012 11:33 AM

    Correct. Marvel is not committed about making Black Panther. We'll need a black director to spearhead this project to get Marvel interested.

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