As the Marvel universe continues to come together, unfolding on both the big and small screens - movies and television shows that are all connected, just like in the comics, demonstrating a shared universe - news abound on what, so far, unexplored characters might be appearing in upcoming movies and TV shows, whether as cameos, part of ensembles, or in their own individual projects.
Black Panther is certainly one of those superheroes whose name has been on the lips of fans, when discussions about what characters Marvel should give life to next, are had.
Of course, it was just a few months ago when Disney (Marvel's parent) announced a deal with Netflix that will bring some of these seemingly *forgotten* characters to the screen, as TV series, available exclusively on the SVOD platform. And one of the characters that will be starring in his own series will be Black Panther. That's already been announced and confirmed.
A year ago, it was rumored that Chadwick Boseman was Marvel's top choice to play the character, something I wasn't surprised by, assuming it's true. It's a no-brainer actually, for what should be obvious reasons; Number 1 being that, at the time, he was the star of a sports biopic that was in theaters, and doing surprisingly well at the box office, given the category it falls under. And since in Hollywood casting decisions, the *who's hot right now* factor is a significant one, who else, at the time of that rumor, would really have been at the top of Marvel's list for that part?
Oh, and he also happens to be an Actor, which I'm thankful for. They could've always gone with an entertainer first, and an actor second.
Marvel has certainly helped fuel some of the rumors, dropping "Easter eggs" in existing 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.
Today, the rumor is that Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) will make an 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.
I'm no comic book geek, and much of this is still relatively foreign to me, so I'll leave the explanation on the above rumor to our friends at Nerd Reactor to break down for you:
Keep in mind that right now this is all speculation, hearsay and a lot of connecting the dots, but so far all signs are pointing to an appearance — at the very least — of the royal nation of Wakanda in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci seems to have some insight regarding the appearance of Wakanda in Age of Ultron: "What if I told you that Age of Ultron invokes Wakanda as Ultron gets his comic book famous vibranium shell?" Ultron’s outer shell typically built with adamantium, but with that alloy on lockdown over at Fox, the next best option is to use vibranium. You can clearly see how powerful vibranium is in the MCU; so creating Ultron out of vibranium only makes sense. However, as Howard Stark put it in The First Avenger, Cap’s shield is “all we got” when it comes to vibranium. So where does Ultron get vibranium from? Right at the source within Wakanda. Remember, you can’t have a robot go against Earth’s mightiest heroes unless you have a metallic body strong enough to withstand all that firepower. As to the appearance of its ruler Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman might be the one who dons the Panther suit. Last year, we reported that Chadwick Boseman was on Marvel’s shortlist for the sought after role. A few days ago, Boseman was asked outright about the rumor between himself and Black Panther. Take a look below for his response.
The video of the interview is courtesy of BlackTree TV. The question about Black Panther comes in around the 3:33 mark. Watch Boseman's coy response, which maybe says more than he realizes. He certainly didn't deny it; and then continue reading below:
As I've said previously, when it comes to casting the part, what I do know is that I'd prefer that the studio went with an Actor (the capital "A" is intentional), to give credibility to the project. They should take it very seriously, just as the WB did with the Christopher Nolan era of Batman movies. So please no repeat of Steel... PLEASE!
And while I'd prefer an *unknown*, Boseman certainly is an Actor I wouldn't reject for the role. He's an Actor, and, he has athletic ability, and with some training, could certainly be whipped into proper physical shape for the part. His casting would also give the movie the right kind of credibility.
But it looks like he just might be the man on Marvel's mind for the job. Time will tell.
As for whether Black Panther will show up in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it wouldn't be a surprise, given what I said above about Marvel expanding its connected comic book universe on screen, while hinting at the appearances of various, thus far, unexplored characters, in upcoming projects. So that just may be as done a deal as any, whether it's in Age of Ultron, or in some other Marvel project. It would make sense, ahead of the Black Panther series debut on Netflix in a year or 2. They introduce him on the big screen, in a tent-pole franchise movie, seen by many millions, and then watch that audience spillover to the TV series soon afterward.