EDITORIAL: The Black Panther in the MCU

EDITORIAL: The Black Panther in the MCU

CBMer Yossarian tells you why you won't be seeing him anytime soon.

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By yossarian - 9/13/2012
When Marvel introduced its Phase Two movie line up many, myself included, were shocked to learn there were no plans for a Black Panther movie. There were plenty of rumors regarding the character, and it seemed natural and logical to bring T’Challa, Wakanda, advanced technology and all of the vibranium the MCU needed into the fold. However, Marvel apparently opted for The Guardians of the Galaxy instead.

According to Marvel Studios co-president Louis D'Esposito, the reasoning for the decision is, “T’Challa has a lot of the same characteristics of a Captain America: great character, good values. But the movie might be difficult to pull off, he said, because of having to create Wakanda from the ground up. It’s always easier basing it here. For instance, ‘Iron Man 3’ is rooted right here in Los Angeles and New York. When you bring in other worlds, you’re always faced with those difficulties.”

Simply looking at Phase One and the announced Phase Two films shows his statement is suspicious at best. They created Asgard, India, WWII, South America and a tiny town in the middle of the desert. Surely creating Wakanda is possible.

Initially I reasoned that the real motive for the decision is that if Marvel made a superhero team up movie in space, they would beat DC to the punch before a Justice League film. It makes sense strategically. If Marvel wants to bring in their cosmic characters, it’s best they do it before a Justice League movie is made, because the Justice League is almost guaranteed to set the box office ablaze. By simply doing it first, they can move freely from there as well as limiting what DC/WB can do and not be seen as copying Marvel.

However, I doubt that is all there is to it. After thinking about their decision, I believe the reason to not make a Black Panther movie, is Black Panther himself; or rather, Marvel Studio's inability to handle him properly.

Before we go any further, I feel it is important to quickly recap the current heroes within the MCU.

Iron Man – White guy

Thor – Blonde white guy

Captain America – Blonde white guy

Bruce Banner/Hulk – White guy…or green

Hawkeye – Blondish white guy

Black Widow – White woman

Ant-Man – Blonde white guy

James Rhodes/War Machine – Black guy sidekick

Nick Fury – Black guy with no real super powers

Sam Wilson/Falcon (rumored) – Black guy sidekick

On Asgard, Heimdall is watching everything in the universe and he glances down to Midgard thinking, “Where are all of the black people?”

Black Panther’s origin is classic and timely. The character is deep and interesting. The setting is rich and beautiful. Yet despite all of that, it simply isn’t possible to pull off. If Marvel chose to make Black Panther its first cinematic black hero they have to overcome the character.

T’Challa is a young Prince in fictional Wakanda in Africa. The king of Wakanda rules over all of the tribes of Wakanda and earns the title of “Black Panther” by completing trials and is then given an herb to eat which connects the King to the Wakandan Panther God as well as grants him superhuman abilities.

The story goes that T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father and the King, “Black Panther” of Wakanda) is a benevolent ruler of an isolated African nation and has his country invaded by a white man, Ulysses Klaw, who is backed by an all-white faction of the Catholic Church, in an attempt to plunder Wakanda of its Vibranium resource. T’Chaka is killed and T’Challa injures Klaw forcing Klaw to flee and allowing T’Challa to escape the country and go on his rite of passage walkabout so that he can go through the trials and become the Black Panther. T’Challa returns to Wakanda and rules his nation.

T’Challa’s walkabout and trials include him defeating the champions of various African tribes, all of which have animal personas.

Recently, the cartoons tell the story that T’Chaka is usurped by a rival tribe known as the Jabari. The Jabari Tribe used the aid of M’Baku to overthrow T’Chaka. M’Baku was the second greatest warrior in Wakanda yet he had a lust for power. M’Baku then journeys to the White Gorilla Cult where he passes trials and is allowed to bathe in gorilla blood and eat gorilla flesh, which grant him superhuman powers, and he takes on the persona of, “Man-Ape.”

After the take-over, T’Challa goes on his trials and returns as Black Panther to Wakanda where the civilization is in disarray. T’Challa bests M’Baku and takes the thrown and returns Wakanda to the isolated prosperous African Nation.

Would Marvel want to introduce its first black hero this way? No.

First of all, they would establish that in the MCU, Africa consists of animal worshiping black people who establish their government leaders through warrior trials and each takes on not only the animal persona, but the animalistic attributes as well.

That is pure American prejudice applied to a continent and its people. Marvel makes light-hearted superhero films for the family. I doubt they want the possibility that people would discern the message that within the MCU, Africa consists of black people who are barbaric animals.

Second of all, if they introduce T’Challa without a proper origin story, the character is castrated of his heart and compassion and his ability to rule a nation as a benevolent and loved king.

It is simply degrading to the character to introduce him without the majesty of his origin. Also, the breadth and importance of the social issues the movie would cover wouldn’t fit into the tone of the MCU without diluting the importance of T’Challa.

Lastly, and sadly, the market likely isn’t there. Some people still don’t like that Nick Fury is black. Some people are upset that Heimdall is black. But most important to the point, is that unless Marvel has the director, producers, writers and actors in-line who all have the ability to make it perfect, a Black Panther film would simply be seen as the token attempt at diversity.

If the film is not perfect, in every way, it degrades the MCU and runs the possibility as being interpreted as pure racism. Although Black Panther is an amazing and rich character, there are safer black characters which are easier to introduce into the MCU.

I know that for 40 years the comics pulled it off, but therein lies the problem. For those 40 years the comics are able to weave a tapestry which is respectful and interesting. Every month, for 40 years, the readers could see the character for who he is, come to know T’Challa and understand the world he lives in.

I believe that the subject matter is too delicate for an hour and a half superhero movie. I hope I am wrong, and I deeply hope they find the right people to make the perfect Black Panther film.

Perhaps I am being too sensitive. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, and I know we are talking about comic book movies. But, in a way, Marvel Comics were social commentary; and as needed and as socially relevant as a Black Panther movie would be – the ramifications of mishandling the character are too great a risk.
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seyrie - 9/13/2012, 12:43 PM
I hate hate hate the fact that most of what you said is right. Its pretty sad, T"Challa could be such a badass character.

But the moment Feige used that BS excuse about Wakanda, i knew something was up. You mean to tell me you can create Asgard, and a GOTG movie completely set in space with talking racoons and trees but you cant pull off a fictional nation? GTFOH
seyrie - 9/13/2012, 12:53 PM
No i don't think Marvel is racist. They're just another hollywood studio that is hesitant/unwilling to make a big-budget movie with a mostly black cast because they're not certain about how marketable it would be to a predominantly white audience.
ellispart3 - 9/13/2012, 1:04 PM
i agree, though i see less of an issue of an african nation consisting of people worshiping animals and picking their leader through trials and combat. Marvel did add a very important trait to wakanda that counter balances the idea of the wakandans looking primitive. wakanda is one of, if not the most, technologically advanced nations on the planet. From all outside appearances it is relatively peaceful as well. adding that attribute gives the drastically different culture a different presentation to the general public besides just looking like a national geographic documentary.

my biggest concern is that marvel doesn't feel that a black superhero movie with a predominately black cast will not make money. We've had movies with black leads and black heroes yes, but it is very rare for an all black or predominately black movie to break the box office. marvel studios is going big or going home, so i don't know if they will risk it.
Wallymelon - 9/13/2012, 1:15 PM
ok dude. i agree with a lot of what you said, but pretty much everything you said is you being a little prejudice yourself. i agree that marvel isnt racist and may have trouble with black panthers history but dude. its fiction. they can totally make a black panther movie. hollywood is a bit prejudice though. why do you think red tails took forever to make. why do you think the only black movies you see are caricatures and black guys in fat old lady suits. its because hollywood doesnt want to show black people in the same light as white people. why do you think people are actually considering mitt romney. marvel isnt racist theyre nervous because they dont know if they can make money. thats it. they just dont see makin 1 billion dollars off a black super hero even if they changes his origin to fit better.

black panther is the movie they need to make. marvel should be the ones to change hollywood.
Wallymelon - 9/13/2012, 1:16 PM
basically marvel needs to step there game up. cuz theyre are pulling some shit with not making this movie. it would change everything.
ellispart3 - 9/13/2012, 1:30 PM
@WallyMelon
i don't think it has anything to do with marvel being racist. it's exactly what you stated, they don't see the big dollars with this project. marvel is more focused on making sure they're cinematic universe is in order before they try to trailblaze a predominately black superhero film. i agree, marvel could do it, if handled correctly, but they wont do it with phase II coming up.
SomTingWong - 9/13/2012, 2:08 PM
I agree it`s sad...but let us keep hoping for phase 3.with aldis hodge
JonasWepeel - 9/13/2012, 2:19 PM
I still have hope.

Good luck at the cook off!
Inhuman - 9/13/2012, 2:23 PM
im not black and even i think all the comments made about black panther from marvel are all racist. its hard to make wakanda???????? marvel is making a stupid racoon and tree in space and they cant travel to a jungle somewhere ON PLANET EARTH and film that and then move to NYC where panther resides when hes not in africa???? black panther is an essential avenger. other than ant-man wasp and vision, if a B/C level hero makes it on the team before panther im gonna flip out
RobLiefeldFan - 9/13/2012, 2:33 PM
NOT ALL AFRICAN COUNTRIES ARE PRIMITIVE, IM AFRICAN AND I LIVE IN A FREAKING MANSION, MY FATHER IS AN MD/CEO OF A FREAKING BANK I LIVE IN LAGOS, NIGERIA WHICH IS A CITY I DO NOT LIVE IN A HUT, I SPEAK ENGLISH FLUENTLY, I READ COMICS LIKE EVERYONE, MY FAMILY IS AN AVERAGE FAMILY WITH TV AND CABLE, WE DO NOT LIVE UNDER ROCKS OR IN CAVES WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE WHAT THE MEDIA DECIPTS... WHY DO THEY PUT THE WRETCHED AFRICAN COUNTRIES ON TV AND LIVE OUT THE GOOD ONES LIKE SOUTH AFRICA, GHANA, EGYPT, NIGERIA... WHY... MY GOD THIS IS JUST EMBARRASING
Grimfoe - 9/13/2012, 2:38 PM
"Perhaps I am being too sensitive. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, and I know we are talking about comic book movies."

I think you are. At least, I hope you are. I'm a little older than most on this site and I've been able to watch several different generations of people and reflect on the racism, or lack of, in those generations. My parents were a little racist. I'm not, but I have to admit a certain amount of prejudice. I'm often more on guard around people of other races, particularly african americans. I grew up knowing that the littlest error in my speech could open me up to all kinds of animosity and racial accusations. My nieces and nephews are all in their late teens and 20s. I don't see any racism there at all. They could care less and often will joke with one another across racial lines in a way that would make my friends and I uncomfortable 25 years ago. My kids don't know what racism is. The very idea is foreign. They would no sooner judge someone by their skin color than they would by their hair color.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think it's an issue worth note anymore. I think that's going away. If you look for something hard enough, you'll find it. So be careful that the racism isn't only in your perception.
damntree - 9/13/2012, 2:42 PM
They aren't going to make Black Panther because no one knows who Black Panther is. I'm curious why Nick fury is described as black guy with no real super powers and then Hawkeye, Black Widow, Tony Stark are all just white people. They don't have any real super powers either. Also, War Machine isn't Iron Man's sidekick. Stop trying to shoe horn shit into your little theory.
hoodedjester - 9/13/2012, 2:50 PM
You sure don't write many article Yossarian, but when you do they make for a good thought provoking read.

Totally agree on you this and you make some very good points that I'm quite sure have been raised in those Marvel meetings about what characters they should bring to the silver screen.

In many ways I hope you are wrong because BP would be a great hero to see but I think it will be a long time before we see that and for many of the reasons you have already mentioned
Pendaghast - 9/13/2012, 2:53 PM
id say its more racist to believe that a predominately Caucasian comicbook universe is racist because of a lack of African characters.
lets say you randomly pick 100 people living in a mixed race society, the odds of picking all white is probably the same of picking all black and the same as getting 50-50 or variations.... think about it!
RobLiefeldFan - 9/13/2012, 2:56 PM
WE HAVE BIG CINEMAS I WATCHED AVENGERS, TASM, TDKR IN A NIGERIAN CINEMA DO YOU KNOW HOW AWESOME IT WOULD BE TO HAVE A PROMINENT AFRICAN SUPERHERO... IT WOULD BE THE TITS... AS I WAS SAYING WE HAVE SKYSCRAPERS AND EVERYTHING... THE WHOLE CINEMA WOULD FLOCK IF BLACK PANTHER WAS MADE NOBODY IN NIGERIA WATCHES SPIDER-MAN ONLY THE KIDS AND MUMS IN MY COUNTRY COMICS DONT EVEN SELL THAT MUCH BECAUSE COMPANIES AREE NEGLECTING US SO. WE GET THEM DIGITALLY NO FLOPPIES.. I SCHOOL IN THE UK AND THIS IS IS NOT FAIR... BECAUSE THIS ARTICLE IS SO TRUE I BET YOU GUYS DID NOT KNOW THAT THE FIRST COMIC BOOK STORE IN NIGERIA SOLD 1.6 MILLION COPIES ON IT'S OPENING DAY.. WELL THIS SUCKS.. I PRAY SOMEONE IS READING MY RANT..I WANT TO BE A COMIC BOOK ARTIST SO BAD IM LIKE THE ONLY COMIC BOOK NERD IN MY COUNTRY BUT IN THE UK I MADE FRIENDS WITH OTHER NERDS.. MARVEL PLEASE MAKE THIS MOVIE... PLEASSSSSEE.... Ps @WallyMelon.. LOL I Hate Tyler Perry Movies he's a hack and anyone associated with his movies have no career he's a shame to the black race we should be getting and making awesome movies like prometheus not Madea.. That is why no one takes our movies seriously..
RobLiefeldFan - 9/13/2012, 3:01 PM
@Yossarian... Nah Mah I'm not Angry I LOVE your article a lot... What really pisses me off is the media and social networks who have decipted Africa as one poor hungry nation and the black americans who hate us especially the ones in my school who hate me whenever they see me picking up my books to study telling me I'm "acting white" they don't know that I do all that to help my country to go back home and help them in so many ways.. I'm African and a pure one I have no white descendants (some africans do) I'm pure african and I love the context of you article.. Keep it up bud I look forward to more editorials like this
VaCubFan - 9/13/2012, 3:04 PM
Firt off, great piece AND i hope that Marvel does do it, and does it right. Now, color me ignorant, but i have a question about one thing you said and has been repeated in the comments-- "Would Marvel want to introduce its first black hero this way?" ... now, maybe i'm looking at him the wrong way (ie-he's not a hero, just a character) but isn't Blade a Marvel (black) hero? or does he qualify as a LESSOR Marvel hero/not the stature of Panther? just wondering. I don't agree, either, with Marvel's comparison of him with Cap. (totally, anyway). but, as others have said-- get *THE* right director (a Joss Wedon-like comic book lover who is deep in touch with the lore) and *THE* perfect (looking/sounding) actor for the part and stick to the books... he is who he is.. he's regal, he's cool, he's a hero... and if done right would be a great on-screen role model for kids of all ages AND ethnic backgrounds
Pendaghast - 9/13/2012, 3:04 PM
and arnt you forgetting the blade trilogy?
lntrn8 - 9/13/2012, 3:05 PM
Very intelligent read, and I agree on many of your speculations.

Your writing is proof positive that the measure of a CBM writer's intelligence is proportionate to the "chick pics" that have been posted in the past; and I surmise you are one of many who are HIGHLY intelligent.

To show you how intelligent I am, may I add this "rich tapestry" . . .

StarkRaving - 9/13/2012, 3:08 PM
Rebuttal argument: Blade.
lntrn8 - 9/13/2012, 3:09 PM
@Pendaghast nice point about Blade. He was born out of superhero lore, but didn't come out of Marvel Studios. Blade was not a far off gamble that New Line Cinemas put together, since they were capitalizing on the then extremely popular vampire genre out in the public already (Buffy).

I don't think Wesley Snipes' Blade has gotten his proper respect, since after the success of that came the proliferation of many other Marvel characters on the screen (X-Men, Spider-Man, DD, Elektra, FF, Hulk, etc).
DeanVanHalen - 9/13/2012, 3:16 PM
I agree that the hold up is the result of institutionalised racism, however I still think the market is there for Black Panther. Maybe not the white market, but I would bet you an impressive box office that the black audience would more than make up the shortfall with the right marketing. "The First Black Avenger" (or something less tacky, I'm not in marketing) would be huge, especially on the back of The Avengers' success
superpooper - 9/13/2012, 3:18 PM
@Grimfoe Thankyou. That's the comment I was hoping to see on this thread.Nice article Yoss. I too thought you were getting ready to play the race card when I started reading this and it's refreshing to see that you're smarter than that. I don't necessarily agree with with every point you're making, though because I think it boils down to this...Marvel/DIsney thinks they can make more money with different characters. Whether the race issue plays into that decision somehow may or may not be a factor, but MONEY is absolutely the bottom line. I really don't believe that racism is as big of a boogie man in our society as a lot of us would like to believe and that's why I like Grimfoes comment so much. Believe it or not, but racism carries a HUGE social stigma among the majority of our population these days...especially amongst people who can afford to go to the movies lol. I don't see many people upset about Nick Fury and Heimdall being black, and if they are it's not because they don't like black people. I do agree with Grimfoe in that if we choose to perpetuate this fear of a racist society we run the risk of creating a racism which hunt, if you will which will only serve to breathe new life into something that's really a dead idea. To me, racism is like religion in that it's a cheap fall back defense wherein once you no longer have a valid point you create something that isn't there.
VaCubFan - 9/13/2012, 3:28 PM
@W.Zombie -- true, it was NewLine.. but it's still a Marvel entity which would make it/him qualify as the first A/A Marvel hero in a movie, right?
ThaReaperAssassin - 9/13/2012, 3:33 PM
Nice write up YOSS, I agree with parts of your article completely.
This may sound rasict, but the only way we'll see a black panther movie anytime soon is if Tyler Perry gets his hands on it. I mean that in the sense that he is one of the only filmmakers who uses all black casts in his movies and grosses decently at the box office.
Superheromovies2000 - 9/13/2012, 3:37 PM
In Hollywood an all "Black" cast gets designated as a Black Movie & will be marketed as such. Sad but true.. When Feige made that excuse he really ment we can't do a black man as a hero because general white audience's won't go see it! So you have the Hollywood problem & society problems, we can all say we are past certain issues but it's not the case. Like he pointed out people were mad because Nick Fury was black.. Even though Sam Jackson is a great actor!!

Hollyweird has done a great job at shaping some of the people's minds.. That's why movies with an all white cast get marketed to everyone while movies with people of color are marketed to said demographic...
ellispart3 - 9/13/2012, 3:58 PM
@mreko
agreed.
superpooper - 9/13/2012, 4:07 PM
@Superheromovies2000 I think the the prejudice your alluding to does exist, but it's a prejudice based solely on aesthetics and not on a belief that one race is superior to another. That's something we're all guilty of whether we like it or not. It's a survival instinct going back to the dawn of man that causes us to form bonds with people who look like and us be wary of those who don't. Of course as we mature we outgrow many of those fears, but much the same as one may like blondes more than brunettes we still have our preferences. Now you start to factor in target demographics and you may start to see film makers trending towards a more specific audience based on whose actually going to the movies and what they're seeing. Hopefully we're bright enough to look at these numbers and see them for what they are...which is statistics and not an underlying belief that one race is fundamentally better than another. When we're talking about racism, what we're really talking about is ignorance. Those words are interchangable. I would not be so quick to call Marvel Comics or the studio execs at Disney ignorant. They're crunching numbers.
OdinsBeard - 9/13/2012, 4:47 PM
i couldn't agree with you more. i think a black panther movie should have been way ahead of ant-man. i'm white and it's even kind of weird to me.

Disney doesn't like black people having the spotlight tho.. they'll avoid it at all costs.
StealthPWNAGE - 9/13/2012, 6:20 PM
It isn't much because of being racist anymore, but more so because of the risk of not being politically correct and the backlash it can have. Which is a shame, but not really their fault. :\
vicferrer - 9/13/2012, 6:29 PM
I sadly also agree with a lot that you said! I never was a big avengers fan, but BP was one of my favorite characters in the team, and solo. Long before of this 'the avengers' project that i have been wanting a BP movie, and now it could be perfect. But...at the end of the avengers movie, i went a bit 'meh' when i saw thanos...and even more when i knew that the guardians of the galaxy was schedule. They are going for the cosmic intergalatic threat and its hard to fit a BP movie in there. I was much more appealed to a masters of evil scheme for the sequel, and maybe, leave thanos for the trilogy.
sikwon - 9/13/2012, 10:28 PM
Dude fantatsic article. The thing is that the only topic Marvel ever really shied away from was the vietnam war. yes they have characters with origins in vietnam but during that period they stayed away from that social commentary. other then that I cant think of many issues that marvel as a company has stayed away from. the early xmen comics had heavy anti racism undertones, i mean so much so that its pretty much ingraned in the xmen. that all rose up in the 60s. more recently they have two male characters getting married. marvel has never shied from that, and they took a chance making 2 norse gods ethnicaly diverse and it paid off. i really think that the issue with black panther is that he dosent fit into the story they are telling (because i promise they have an end game in mind). i absolutely agree that minority characters origins are generaly insulting. thats because white nerdy guys writing comic books dont know dick about minority characters (hell stephen king does the same thing). i think that there is a TON of racism in hollywood and i think that its a shame. the fact of the matter is that marvel just may not believe in Black Panther enough to make a movie about him.

and for the record im of native american/ irish heritage. my great grandmother was a share cropper in nc, when my grand mother lost the farm way back in god knows when they moved to philly. my mom and aunts and uncles were some of the first people to marry out side of my tribe. i took a few beatings for that as a little kid. (the wresteler tatanka is from my tribe. although tatanka isnt a word in my peoples language.)
RobLiefeldFan - 9/14/2012, 1:55 AM
@Mr Eko... LOL i awlways thought i was the only Nigerian Comic Book nerd at least that makes two of us do you still stay in nigeria
Orphix - 9/14/2012, 4:03 AM
Great article! Editorials seem to really be improving on this site on the past couple of weeks so props for that!

Although I pretty much agree with most of the points with this article I don't think it is completely impossible to see the Black Panther in the MCU - it's just extremely unlikely he will get his own franchise.

Marvel Studios can only make a certain amount of films a year so they choose their properties that further the larger overall story. I have a feeling that they can do this without having a standalone Black Panther film. Could he appear as a supporting character in another franchise? Of course! Then, if he prooves popular, the demand maybe there for a Black Panther flick.

Tsotsi, Hotel Rwanda and Blood Diamond show that intelligent, popular films can be set in africa and I think this sort of approach can work with Black Panther. Admittedly, Man-Ape and the magical herbs that provide BP powers have dubious conitations but I think this can be worked on. I think it could work as an african political thriller where issues of class, race and the theft of natural resources (vibranium??) play a role.
StrangerX - 9/14/2012, 7:26 AM
I thought someone mentioned Marvel was going to introduce BP in the SHEILD tv show
CapA - 9/15/2012, 4:11 AM
Excellent article !
I doubt it's marketing issue, Blade and Hancock did well.
I suppose it's just only a matter of priority : Ant-man being in the works for so long and tying to The Avengers, following the already successfull solo movies and capitalizing on the "space universe" set in the Avengers...
I hope we'll get to see BP, Doc Strange and a few others sometime soon...
ellispart3 - 9/15/2012, 6:18 PM
@CapA
Blade and Hancock had different aspects that BP won't have. Neither movie was a predominantly black film. With Blade, it was a dark superhero with horror and vampire aspects thrown in. It had enough pull to be successful. Hancock had Will Smith who i'm convinced that making money is his super power. BP would have the issue of being a movie with a black lead with a predominate black cast, and Marvel knows it will be harder to market and sell.

I hope that we get BP and others up on the big screen in a solo series, but i don't know.
hueyfreeman - 9/15/2012, 7:17 PM
"On Asgard, Heimdall is watching everything in the universe and he glances down to Midgard thinking, “Where are all of the black people?”

i had a good laugh at that. Great editorial, although I'm just not sold on the idea of a black panther solo film anymore.
The character would either have to be retooled(an example might be setting the majority of the origin in the past focusing on a former black panther, then reintroducing T'challa as a modernized less stereotypical Wakandan hero), Or ignored, glossing over the orign all together and having T'Challa in some cameo role a la Hawkeye in Thor.
Happy11 - 9/16/2012, 12:27 AM
I would.love to see a black panther movie but I have to agree with this opinion sad but true. I would rather see a BP movie than the guardians which I'm dreading
lokibane2012 - 9/16/2012, 3:44 AM
T'Challa needs a charismatic lead actor, and a visual director that can make Wakanda looks badass with it's blend of the tribal, and technologicals factors etc.

That's what made something as silly as Thor work. Branagh has a flair for just the kind of visual style Thor needed, and of course, Hemsworth was a charismatic lead.

About the race thing, they're gonna have to tweak the origins to add some white characters in there. Because, in all honesty, general audiences (including th einternational ones) are racist whether consciously or subconsciously.

Perhaps the white characters can be like the audiences eyes/POV or somethi... Okay, don't groan, now. I hate white POV characters, but they almost always work the box office. Transformers, Avatar, you name it.
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