If Latino Review is correct, a Marvel superhero’s long road to the cineplex will end in 2014, and those of us waiting for Ant-Man will have to wait a little bit longer. Because the website is quoting four sources (FOUR!) that say the mystery Marvel film that will come in 2014 with star Black Panther.
Black Panther was a character created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #52. His real name was T’Challa and was a potentate in the fictional African nation of Wakanda who earned the right to wield a sacred “Panther Totem” that gave him the strength, agility and senses of the cat the item was named after. While based in Africa, he made many trips to America and would eventually marry X-Men member Storm.
These facts, that Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four and married a member of the X-Men, that the rights to the character would belong to FOX, who holds the rights to all the anciliary FF andf X-Men characters. But Black Panther’s rights have been free-standing for a long time before either of those franchises.
Talk of a Black Panther film began way back in 1992 as a vehicle for Wesley Snipes. The film became a pet project for Snipes, who would express his hopes start filming the adaptation in numerous interviews for the years that would follow. But the project had a number of false starts over the last 20 years, to the point that it looks like Snipes has aged himself out of the role.
Marvel stated in 2007 that Black Panther was one of the ten properties that it would develop in its distribution partnership with Paramount. In early 2011, Marvel commissioned a Black Panther script from Mark Bailey. And a quick reference to the character appears in IRON MAN 2 on a SHIELD monitor listing superpowered individuals around the world.
Again, this is just a rumor. We probably won’t know anything definite until the San Diego Comic Con. But as it stands right now, I am conflicted about this announcement. I have been a long-time fan of Black Panther through his involvement in the Avengers, and having an African hero would make a strike for diversity in the superhero film landscape. But I can’t help be disappointed that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man isn’t ready to go yet, and not capitalizing on the strong buzz around some of the characters from The Avengers is a big mistake, especially Hulk, who could be a tentpole franchise for Marvel if they build on what Whedon did in that film.