Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Revisiting On The Rise: Where Are Our 2012 Picks Now? Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Discuss: Is Marvel Afraid Of Making A 'Black Panther' Movie?

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 17, 2012 at 3:40PM

For a major studio who do nothing but make blockbuster tentpole movies, Marvel do, to their credit, take their fare share of risks. Casting Robert Downey Jr, an actor coming out of a decade or so of drug and alcohol addiction, and whose last film as a lead, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" made under $5 million at the box office, as the lead in "Iron Man" was certainly a risk, but one that paid off handsomely.
25
Black Panther

For a major studio solely in the business of making blockbuster tentpole movies, Marvel, to its credit, does take its fair share of risks. Casting Robert Downey Jr, an actor coming out of a decade or so of drug and alcohol addiction, and whose last film as a lead, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," made under $5 million at the box office, as the lead in "Iron Man" was certainly a risk, but one that paid off handsomely. Making their next big character a space Viking, and hiring Kenneth Branagh, a helmer known more for his work with Shakespeare than blockbusters, was another roll of the dice. And perhaps the biggest of all was going into production on "The Avengers," a vastly expensive team-up of their characters, before they knew that "Thor" and "Captain America" were hits. And that one turned out to be a $1.5 billion hit. So the risks are paying off.

And Marvel continues to make smart, but potentially troublesome bets that won't necessarily pay off. The studio brought in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" director Shane Black to helm "Iron Man 3," and the "Thor" and "Captain America" sequels are being looked after by filmmakers who've worked principally in TV. And on Saturday at Comic-Con, they announced arguably their most ambitious film yet: "Guardians Of The Galaxy," based on the space-faring super team that includes among its members a bald, green alien, a badass ninja lady, a tree, and a talking raccoon. It's their biggest gamble to date, without a question. But something at a Comic-Con press conference made that feel particularly sour.

The studio's co-president Louis D'Esposito (who helmed the upcoming "Item 47" short), responded to a question about the possibility of a "Black Panther" film, as was suggested by a report a few months back, and responded "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, the African country of which the character, T'Challa, is the ruler]. 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."

And Twitch put it better than we ever could with their headline: "Marvel: We Can Make A Movie About A Talking Raccoon But A Black Man Is 'A Little More Difficult.'" Given that "Thor" managed to involve, again, a space Viking from Asgard, and the "Guardians Of The Galaxy" will presumably have to introduce characters from all over space, it feels spectacularly disingenuous of D'Esposito to say that it's harder to set up Black Panther's world.

Marvel is, of course, under no obligation to make "Black Panther." They can make whatever they like, it's their money. But there seems to be a definite fan base out there to see a "Black Panther" movie (our piece on potential casting for the film is one of our most popular of the last few months), and it would certainly be less of a headache for the studio than a CGI space epic.  And yet "Guardians Of The Galaxy" came first, and given D'Esposito's response, it seems that the studio, as risky as they've been, are actively afraid of making a "Black Panther" movie.

This article is related to: Marvel, Comic-Con, Features, Black Panther


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates