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Shane Black Says 'Django Unchained' Has "Poisoned The Well" For A '70s-Set 'Black Panther' Movie

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by Oliver Lyttelton
March 5, 2013 2:49 PM
14 Comments
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Today's premiere of the third trailer for "Iron Man 3" has given us our best glimpse so far of Marvel's Phase Two -- the run of movies including "Thor: The Dark World," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," that will bridge the gap between last year's mega-hit "The Avengers" and its 2015 sequel. But clearly, the comic-company-turned-studio have plans beyond that, and assuming the films continue to be successful, we'll continue to see other side projects like the upcoming "S.H.I.E.L.D" TV show, and more.

But one that we're not going to see any time soon, it would seem? A "Black Panther" movie. Rumors surfaced last year that the studio was set to announce a film with T'Challa, the costumed ruler of a fictional African kingdom who was Marvel's first, and still most prominent, black superhero. But the rumors came to nothing, and in an interview with ComingSoon, and others, in support of "Iron Man 3," writer/director Shane Black suggests that a '70 set "Black Panther" movie -- discussed and dreamed of by fans -- is likely not happening.

"I don’t know, I always thought that certain characters could be adapted in a cool way. I wanted to do -- Quentin Tarantino kind of poisoned the well with 'Django [Unchained'] -- but I always thought there was a 1970’s version of 'Black Panther,' which was period that could be really cool and involved a lot of the racial tensions of that time. That’s not going to happen," Black said, when he was asked about other Marvel properties he might be interested in pursuing. "Other Marvel movies that I really loved, or Marvel comics growing up, God, mostly just the typical ones. 'Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.' the [Jim] Steranko years. But you can’t do them because Sam Jackson is 60 years old and he plays this sort of patriarchal figure now, but Nick Fury was what I adored growing up. If you ever read the ones Steranko did for 'Tales of Suspense' followed by 'Nick Fury' standalone 1-8, some of the best comics ever made."

So is it a simple as that? Did "Django Unchained" really kill the chance of a "Black Panther" movie? We don't buy it, at least not entirely. You'd think that, if anything, a period piece with an African-American lead and some potentially incendiary racial politics making $400 million worldwide would embolden Marvel to move ahead with a "Black Panther" movie, even if it was a stand-alone period piece. But as we've suggested before, the studio are still likely uncertain about how to approach the character. Perhaps just the '70s setting/thematic material is a path Marvel won't pursue, but with "S.H.I.E.L.D." around the corner, we wouldn't be shocked to see a number of lower profile characters first tested out there before making a leap to the big screen, Black Panther among them.

But what do you think? Do you accept that "Django Unchained" has made a "Black Panther" movie more difficult? Or do you think that Marvel needs just ignore whatever else is happening out there and just make the movie? Let us know your thoughts below.


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14 Comments

  • jay | March 11, 2013 1:55 AMReply

    If Shane did a Black Panther movie in the 70s.. Then someone needs to drop kick the fuck out him, how would the movie tie in with the phase projects. Hollywood should come clean they dont want a black hero movie again.

  • audiodramatist | March 7, 2013 7:36 AMReply

    ...Nigger please....

  • Dommer | March 5, 2013 7:34 PMReply

    Marvel just doesn't want to take a risk. Or, more likely, Disney doesn't want to. Who would have thought of that?

  • AE | March 5, 2013 6:39 PMReply

    Wait a second, Hollywood discovers a hugely successful formula and decides too much of a good thing might be risky? This is the same industry that recycles Batman and Superman on an infinite loop, for audiences who will not only happily go but seem to demand the same film over and over again.

  • squarejordan | March 5, 2013 5:12 PMReply

    I've been hoping for a Luke Cage or Black Panther movie over any other Marvel prospect, but it should be painfully obvious that Luke Cage is the one more deserving the 'funk 70s blaxploitation' treatment, or a film of any kind really...

  • Daniel | March 5, 2013 10:17 PM

    Agreed. And the only way I can make sense of the 'poisoned the well' quote is that he meant 'stole the thunder' instead -- and that he *personally* feels like he, if he were directing that movie, he wouldn't be able to bring anything fresh to it now that he's seen Tarantino do it first. But yeah, they could (and totally should) make that movie. It would fucking rule. Also: Idris Elba for Luke Cage, Chiewetel Ejiofor for Black Panther. See you guys at the multiplex.

  • d | March 5, 2013 4:11 PMReply

    In other words, two movies about black heroes is too much to ask of Hollywood.

  • No | March 5, 2013 3:48 PMReply

    Strange logic. A film about a pre-Civil War black bounty-hunter "poisons" the well for a 1970s black superhero?

  • sup@soup.com | March 5, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    Why cant they make a non-racially tense black panther movie?.. I'm sick of movies focusing on racial conflicts. Lets move the fuck on already.

  • Zack | March 5, 2013 3:20 PMReply

    Yeah, that's kind of weird logic. "We can't do a '70s movie about racial issues because of this movie set in the 1850s."

  • Gabe Toro | March 5, 2013 3:08 PMReply

    Quit feeding us bullshit, Kevin Feige.

  • Berk | March 5, 2013 3:06 PMReply

    Django didn't do anything to a period Black Panther movie any more than Serpico poisoned the well to Joe Carnahan's proposed 70s Daredevil movie. They are fanboy pipe dreams and nothing more. Other than the first Captain America, I don't think there is going to ever be another period Marvel movie.

  • waldo | March 5, 2013 7:59 PM

    An old Destroyer book that Marvel did, called Slave Safari, had everything they were looking for.

  • Ugh | March 5, 2013 2:57 PMReply

    Sounds like bullshit. It sounds like a way to circumvent the real issue which is Marvel just not wanting to make a black superhero movie. I mean these guys are trailblazing in all areas of the superhero genre except one where they keep dragging their feet.
    I mean by Hollywood logic, if anything, 'Django Unchained' a hard R rated movie closing in on the worldwide gross of 'Thor' - a soft PG-13 summer release - should mean we'd be getting a 'Black Panther' movie faster than ever

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