Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Black Panther, Starring Chadwick Boseman, to Hit Theaters November 3, 2017

One of the most exciting announcements among the many made by Marvel Studios today was that Phase 3 would see a solo Black Panther film starring Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa!

As successful as Marvel Studios has been since releasing Iron Man in 2008, one knock against them was the lack of a film with a minority lead. Readers of the site will know that Black Panther is one of my favorite characters and that I've long hoped Marvel would eventually give T'Challa, one of the most complex characters on Marvel's roster, his own film. Today, Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige made that hope, one that has been kept alive by numerous reports over the years that a Black Panther film was in development, a reality when he revealed that the film would hit theaters on November 3, 2017 as part of Phase 3.

Feige, in a surprise move, then brought actor Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up), long rumored (despite his repeated denials: here and here) to be Marvel's man for the role, on stage alongside Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. before revealing that we'll see T'Challa stuck in the middle of Marvel's Civil War in Captain America: Civil War. Following that announcement, Feige unveiled the first look at some concept art of the Black Panther:

Of adding T'Challa and his African nation of Wakanda to the MCU, Kevin Feige said:

Black Panther and all of Wakanda is one of the most interesting characters in Marvel history. Something I already showed you today contains an Easter egg that leads directly into ‘Black Panther.’ He’s a bit of a prince, he may even become a bit of a king, but it’s all about how this isolationist country meets the world. Maybe it goes well, maybe it doesn’t.
As far as those Easter Eggs go, it's not hard to connect the dots. Earlier in the day, Feige showed the teaser for Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Andy Serkis, in an as yet unspecified role, was featured. It's been deduced by many, including me, that Serkis is likely to be playing Ulysses Klaw, an arch-enemy of T'Challa and, in the comics, the murderer of T'Challa's father. Take a look for yourself below at a comparison of Serkis and the Klaw from an Earth-50302, an alternate Marvel comic universe. Pretty uncanny.

It is expected that Klaw, whose sole interest in Wakanda is related to the stores of the super-metal, Vibranium, that lie beneath the kingdom, will have some interactions with Ultron and may be responsible for the villain being coated in Vibranium during the film. It's long been rumored that Wakanda would appear in the film, but that we would NOT see T'Challa or even his father T'Chaka. Something about all this is making me wonder if we don't see Klaw murder T'Chaka during Avengers: Age of Ultron, setting the stage for T'Challa's rise to the throne and his willingness to open Wakanda, a traditionally isolationist nation, to the rest of the world.

Boseman seemed a bit uneasy taking the stage in front of the crazy fans, but seemed VERY excited and relieved to finally be able to talk about the role, saying, "I’m blessed to be a part of this Marvel Universe, and to work with you both, and I look forward to making magic together."

Had their not been an Inhumans film announced today, this would have taken the cake for me, but damn am I excited to see T'Challa enter the MCU. He will almost certainly go toe-to-toe with Captain America, battle wits with Tony Stark and unleash holy hell on Klaw and a fair number of baddies. I'm hopeful that we see a Black Panther franchise, something that seems extremely likely given Deadline's report that Boseman has signed on with Marvel for a 5-picture deal. While no director has been named, Feige did mention that he'll be meeting with Reginald Hudlin (producer of Django Unchained and a one-time writer of Black Panther comics) sometime soon when asked if they would seek out a minority director for the film.

Watch the video announcement of Black Panther for yourself below by starting at about the 6:23 mark: