Marvel’s “Black Panther” Might Be the Blackest Comic Movie Ever

Chadwick BosemanMarvel has been killing the game for years. They’re the number one comic book company. Their films are consistent and dependable blockbusters. And when Disney purchased them, their entertainment capabilities were only bolstered. Now they are turning their significant synergistic abilities toward diversity through their Black Panther property.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been an overwhelming success in telling a larger overarching story across multiple films, with multiple protagonists, and multiple settings. And until now, the only significant criticism lobbied against the MCU is its white heteronormativity, i.e. they are all about straight white men. From Captain America to Iron Man to Ant-Man, every recent Marvel film has had a white man at its center. But with the forthcoming Black Panther, Marvel is centering blackness both in front of and behind the scenes.

To be honest, the first real deviation from this was Jessica Jones, a female-led series on Netflix. It wasn’t a film, but it was a highly publicized and critically acclaimed series set within the MCU. And compared to Black Panther, it was just an appetizer.

For starters, it was announced months ago that heavily awarded and woke author Ta-Nehisi Coates would be the writer for the Black Panther’s newest comic iteration, set to debut in April 2016. This shows a serious focus on telling strong yet nuanced stories and a dedication to representation in multiple areas of production.

The Black Panther film has already signed Chadwick Boseman as the title character T’Challa/Black Panther. Boseman, of 42 and Get On Up fame, will be portraying a technical genius and king who lords over the mind-bogglingly prosperous African nation of Wakanda. This nation is critically important to both comic and MCU history as it is the only known source of Vibranium, the astonishingly durable metal ore that was used to create Captain America’s shield and was alluded to in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’ll be seen first in the upcoming film Captain America: Civil War.

Beyond Boseman, the film will also employ a mostly black cast. So this won’t be some tokenized character or portrayal of a black man operating in a white dominated world. Black Panther will be a major world player with a formidable mind, unique power set, and the backing of an entire nation.

And to cap it all off, the film will likely be directed by USC grad Ryan Coogler of Creed and Fruitvale Station fame. It’d been known for a long time that Marvel was devoted to having a black director take on this project, and for awhile, Ava Duvernay was the pick (until she declined). The excitement over the movie is so strong that reputable entertainment news source Variety jumped the gun and declared his employment confirmed even though no official announcement has been made.

All things considered, the entertainment industry is teeming with anticipation for this groundbreaking film. And in a world where minorities continue to struggle for opportunities, Marvel is putting money and the entire Marvel marketing machine behind a project led by a black actor and black director.

Can you say that about anything DC is producing? Yup. Didn’t think so.


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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.