'Black Panther' now rumored as next Marvel stand-alone movie
Who would wear the suit as T'challa?
One of the most anticipated announcements of the year will most likely take place at this year's San Diego Comic-Con when Marvel is expected to confirm which of their properties will be the source for their next original superhero title. Obviously "Iron Man 3" just began production (you can see the first still from the film here), and they're casting bad guys for "Thor 2," and chances are they're going to get really serious about "The Avengers 2" sometime soon.
But what of the rest of the Marvel Universe? Edgar Wright has been working towards making "Ant-Man" based on a script he's co-writing with Joe Cornish, but with the word that he's going to be shooting the final film in his Cornetto trilogy this fall, it seems less likely that "Ant-Man" is coming next. Marvel poobah Kevin Feige has spoken many times about how much he wants to figure out "Doctor Strange" for the big-screen, but there hasn't been any word on when or if that will happen.
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Mark Bailey was brought onboard to write a script for the film last year, and that's the last we heard about it. Mayimbe says that his sources now believe this film is set as the next greenlight that Marvel will give, making it one of the 2014 releases.
They've certainly laid some groundwork in the Marvel films so far, including Wakanda on a video screen map in "Iron Man 2" and using vibranium, an element that comes exclusively from Wakanda, in Captain America's shield. By laying in Easter Eggs like that in the various movies, Marvel keeps their options open, and it means that when they get a script they like and casting comes together, they can move forward, knowing that they've already got enough groundwork laid that it doesn't feel like they're just wedging something brand new into the world they've been building so carefully.
The Black Panther is a major part of the most recent animated iteration of "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes," which is a sharply-told, well-made series that works to unite both younger audiences and a more adult fanbase. Marvel's been smart about using the animated world to introduce characters to kids so that if they do make a movie about a character, they're not having to start at zero. He was also a big part of the Lionsgate Marvel movies, including "Ultimate Avengers 2."
There have been many attempts to bring the character to the bigscreen over the last few years, with directors like Reginald Hudlin taking their shot and with stars like Wesley Snipes eager to put on the suit. If this is indeed the next priority for Marvel Studios, they're going to have to find a lead actor who can become that character for the next decade, so expect them to cast a wide net.
We'll be paying close attention to this, and if there is news about a director or a cast starting to come together, we'll have that here for you as well. In the meantime, we'll be watching Marvel closely, as will everyone, to see if they can build off of the worldwide goodwill towards "The Avengers" as they kick off phase two of their overall Marvel Movie Universe plan.
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