With Marvel riding high on the success of those assembled Avengers, and plans for sequels to their current crop of on-screen heroes well under way, it’s only natural for the company to press ahead with the next stage in their character evolution. And if Latino Review scoop hound El Mayimbe’s sources are correct, it looks like one of those stages will be to finally get Black Panther prowling through cinemas.
There has been no official word from either Marvel Studios or their Disney distribution partners to either confirm or shoot down the chatter, but it would certainly not come as a big surprise since there was movement on the idea as recently as January 2011.
Documentarian Mark Bailey was hired to take the latest crack at T’Challa, the African prince who becomes a hero as part of his royal family’s legacy. That would building on clues and easter eggs smuggled into the likes of Iron Man 2 (where T’Challa’s secretive home nation of Wakanda cropped up on a map) and Captain America (though it isn't directly mentioned, his shield’s vibranium comes from a mine underneath Wakanda). A member of the Avengers, he’s also been prominently featured in the animated adventures of the superhero team that predate this year’s movie.
The Panther hasn’t been the easiest character to adapt, however, with several attempts failing in the past. Even Wesley Snipes and Artisan / Lionsgate couldn’t make it work. Now it appears Marvel is definitely looking to get him lined up in his own franchise and, most likely, joining with Stark, Thor, Cap and company when the Avengers assemble once more. The comics version even ended up marrying X-Men's Storm, but competing studio interests are likely to stop that appearing onscreen any time soon.
We’ll have to wait and see what pans out. Meanwhile, why don’t you hit the Twitters and the comments to tell us who you see as T’Challa? We’ll open the discussion with the idea of Chronicle’s Michael B Jordan.
If all this talk of Marvel’s possible plans has you jonesing for some more concrete word on the future of the cinematic universe, why not check out the latest issue of Empire, which features an exclusive chat with company film boss Kevin Feige. You can get it in traditional paper format and also in shiny iPad versions for the UK and US.