After years of fans calling for it, Marvel finally announced recently that a Black Panther movie was indeed on the way when they unveiled their full Phase 3 plans. Several different insiders – most notably comic book legend and Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee – had let slip over the years that the studio was working on bringing Prince T’Challa’s story to the big screen, which just fueled fans to do a bout of fancasting that declared everybody from Chiwetel Ejiofor to Idris Elba as perfect for the role.
In the end though, it ended up being revealed that 42 star Chadwick Boseman would actually be ass-kicking Prince of Wakanda. While he had established himself with TV shows like Persons Unknown and got some great buzz playing two very different African-American icons in Jackie Robinson and James Brown in 42 and Get On Up respectively, Boseman was definitely not what you might call a household name (Which is exactly how Marvel likes ’em, if there casting track record is anything to go on). That all changed when the young actor was thrust firmly into the spotlight as his role was unveiled during Marvel’s presentation at the El Capitan theatre two weeks ago. And according to what Boseman told CBR, that was an event that had him lying low for a while afterwards.
“The reaction on stage at the El Capitan Theater was, like, amazing. Just to be there — the way that Marvel set it up and wanted to surprise people with it, it was one of the best surprises that I’ve ever been a part of… I’ve heard from a lot of my friends, and a lot of people I don’t know have congratulated me — but I’ve actually not heard a lot from other people because I went away. I tried to get away from everything just to ground myself. But it’s been amazing. I’m so excited! I’m ready to start right now, and they’re telling me, ‘Slow down a little bit!’”
Before the announcement of Black Panther – and so too the female-led Captain Marvel – Marvel had been taking a lot of flak for the lack of racial and sexual diversity in their film lineup. Black Panther is an especially important answer to some of the questions being asked of the studio, due to the character’s pedigree. Not only will it be the first movie done by the studio led by a black character, but Black Panther was also the very first black character to have his own Marvel comic book back in the day. That’s a lot of pressure for Boseman to get this right, but lots of people forget that while this may be a first for Marvel Studios, Black Panther is not the first black Marvel character to headline a movie.
“Wesley Snipes also had his own franchise [with Blade[– you have to acknowledge that. You have to acknowledge what [Anthony] Mackie’s doing [with the Falcon in the Captain America movies].”
But apparently, even though this trail has been blazed by others, Boseman and Marvel are still doing something new.
“It’s never been done. It’s been done before in different ways, but it’s never been done exactly like this… this is a little different in the way that Marvel is presenting it, so it’s amazing.”
Just what is so different is unclear at this point, and Boseman isn’t elaborating. With no director/screenwriter quite in place yet, it’s probably still too early for him to be referring to something different about the character’s origin, or costume, etc, but with how Kevin Feige and co at Marvel plan things out so way in advance, it’s definitely not impossible. He could also be referring to how his character is going to be making an appearance in another major movie first – 2017’s Captain America: Civil War – before getting his own movie, but right now all of this is still speculation.
One thing is certain though, after the long wait – and the way the studio came under fire for holding the character back – everybody is definitely going to have their on what Boseman and friends get up to.
Last Updated: November 7, 2014