EXCLUSIVE: Wesley Snipes Discusses the Black Panther Live-Action Movie

CBM's own Brent Sprecher chats with Wesley Snipes about his interest in playing T'Challa in a live-action Black Panther movie!

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By Brent Sprecher - 8/19/2010


Actor Wesley Snipes was the first major Hollywood actor to push for a comic book movie franchise with a black male lead when he announced his intentions to make a live-action movie based on the Marvel Comics character T'Challa, aka The Black Panther, back in June 1992. This was before he would turn Marvel's C-list character Blade into a major movie franchise and years before comic book movies became the hottest thing in Hollywood.

"We have a wide-open field for comic book characters on the big screen and we've yet to have a major black comic book hero on the screen. Especially the Black Panther, which is such a rich, interesting life. It's a dream come true to originate something that nobody's ever seen before." -Wesley Snipes, August 1993

Development on The Black Panther continued throughout the '90s and into the early '00s, but due to the success of the Blade franchise, Snipes was no longer thought to be viable in the title role. As late as June 2006, Snipes was still actively working on bringing T'Challa to the big screen. Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige confirmed in February 2007 that The Black Panther was on Marvel Studios' slate of projects in development.

During the recent San Diego Comic-Con, I bumped into Wesley at the EW/SyFy party and asked him if he was still interested in starring as T'Challa in The Black Panther movie. Snipes said:


"I think they [the studio] think I'm too old now."



When I asked him if he would take the role if it was offered to him, he said:


"Only if they do it right. It would have to be big, epic...Wakanda, the whole deal."



Snipes showed that he's keeping abreast of what's happening with the character when I ased him if he was aware of The Black Panther animated series produced by Marvel and BET:


"Oh, yeah. Reggie Hudlin developed that."



Since so many involved with Marvel's current slate of films were present at the party, including Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings and Joss Whedon, I asked Snipes if he thought the Black Panther might show up in The Avengers and he left me with a very nebulous response:


"You never know."



So, what do you think, CBMers? Do you want to see a live-action Black Panther movie? Is Snipes too old to play T'Challa? Should the Black Panther be in The Avengers? Sound off below!
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LEEE777 - 8/19/2010, 4:15 PM
Why don't he play the older BLACK PANTHER then and give the mantle over like in the comics/cartoon!?

Still I'd rather see him as BLADE again in BLADE 4 with MORBIUS! : p
bsprecher - 8/19/2010, 4:18 PM
@Pietro: I agree with you. He is in great shape for his age, but it would be better for him to play T'Challa's father or maybe just stay behind the camera as a producer. He obviously has a lot of passion for the character since he's been developing it for nearly two decades.
LEEE777 - 8/19/2010, 4:21 PM
Gr8 Exclusive by the way!!!

SNIPES is supposed to be the nicest guy!
tazmaniak - 8/19/2010, 4:23 PM
Wish Marvel would have saved Idris Elba for Black Panther.
bsprecher - 8/19/2010, 4:26 PM
@LEEE: Thanks, man! Yeah, he was totally cool. I had just heard Stallone ripping on him at The Expendables panel, saying how he hit Stallone too hard on every take, blah, blah, so I was thinking he must be kind of a knob, but he was the nicest guy! He even complimented me on my "chapeau."

@tazmaniak: He would be good, but I like Djimon Hounsou for the role.
jaycranney - 8/19/2010, 4:26 PM
Snipes? Black Panther? Nah he's too old at 48.

Most people will say Djimon Hounsou (46) or Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (42) but I think they're too old as well. Are there better, younger actors out there would should be considered?
RedDevil - 8/19/2010, 4:28 PM
Snipes should be the father of T Challa. Great interview Brent!
selinakyle - 8/19/2010, 4:29 PM
Nice!
i think he is too old for T'challa. he could play T'Chaka. I really dont want Djimn Hounsou anywhere near this project. Dont feel like watching "give us free" part 2.
THEHAWK - 8/19/2010, 4:29 PM
@Brent. Great find man! Hey, I heard that he held the film rights for the character. Is that true?
secretasianboy - 8/19/2010, 4:29 PM
he was a great blade (the best) but black panther??? no
LucasMend - 8/19/2010, 4:30 PM
No he is BLADE, I dont like him or Blade, but he was born to play Blade, not T'Challa/Black Panther.
T'Challa/Black Panther for me is Djimon Hounsou.
animeex - 8/19/2010, 4:31 PM
This was mentioned years ago about him wanting the part... I guess he is still interested.
marvel72 - 8/19/2010, 4:32 PM
no to snipes to old now,use that huge black chappie from lost mr echo(sorry guys don't know his real name.)

he'd be f*cking perfect.
JTheMostAwesome - 8/19/2010, 4:32 PM
Michael Jai White all the way! He's got the fighting chops, the build, the look...

That's my choice.
LEEE777 - 8/19/2010, 4:33 PM
BRENT @ Thats wicked man! ; D

Its a damn shame we never got that BLACK PANTHER back then...

Hopefully he'll have some part in the upcoming movie even if its not PANTHER himself!


deadpool72 @ You mean Andewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (yeah had to google that lol, wat a name haha), totally agree, he'd own the part too!

Just not Chiwetel Ejiofor...bit too small... but good BROTHER VOODOO! ; D
patriautism - 8/19/2010, 4:35 PM
Chiwetel Ejiofor for the Black Panther.
bsprecher - 8/19/2010, 4:36 PM
@animeex: Yeah, if you read the first part of the article, he's been working on a Black Panther movie for years.

@MsKyle08: I didn't realize that Djimon was that old. Maybe someone younger...
bsprecher - 8/19/2010, 4:37 PM
@J: Yeah, Michael Jai still looked pretty badass in TDK!
marvel72 - 8/19/2010, 4:37 PM
@ leee777

i'm impressed,what a name.
jazzman - 8/19/2010, 4:37 PM
@Brent Sprecher
Djimon Hounsou is too old if he played Black Panther he should play the father and casted a younger actor.

Wesley Snipes should do Blade 4 and not Black Panther cast a unknown. for the Black Panther movie to work Marvel need to give a real epic feel to the movie and give it a budget like Iron Man, Thor, etc. Black Panther should not have imo a low budget cause they need to create Wakanda.


jaycranney - 8/19/2010, 4:38 PM
@patriautism
I like!

Mekhi Phifer? Derek Luke? Kirk Lazerus? Carlton from Fresh Prince? Nah, but seriously... I think Phifer or Luke.
tazmaniak - 8/19/2010, 4:39 PM
I like Chiwetel Ejiofor, but he's a pretty small guy.I can see him as Brother Voodoo.I would go for a larger guy like Elba.
marvel72 - 8/19/2010, 4:45 PM
@ leee777

i also think andewale akinnuoye -agbaje would play an awesome bishop in a marvel studios made x-men movie.

can't trust fox with the x-men franchise anymore.
Joe6Pack74 - 8/19/2010, 4:45 PM
I think Snipes should focus on his tax returns instead of this movie.
JoshWilding - 8/19/2010, 4:46 PM
Great work Brent! :) I'd love to see a Black Panter movie (in fact, it's pretty much the next project I'd like to see Marvel start work on after The Avengers) but Snipes would just be too old now unfortunately. If anything, I'd like to see him play Blade again!
jazzman - 8/19/2010, 4:50 PM
@deadpool72

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was not just Mr Eko he was also Simon Adebisi in Oz




selinakyle - 8/19/2010, 4:50 PM
@Brent yeah dude is 46. You wouldn't know tho. But if they are gonna be realistic about this, they will have to cast t'chaka and t'challa.If they cast someone like hounsou or snipes as t'challa, we gonna have a senior citizen black panther using a walking stick. Chiwetel is set to play Fela(awesomenes) so i don't know if he will be available for it.
marvel72 - 8/19/2010, 4:53 PM
@ jazzman

never new that,actually never watched oz.

i think he was in the first or second bourne film as well.
selinakyle - 8/19/2010, 4:53 PM
I would say Derek luke but he gets on my nerves.
damkrtchyan - 8/19/2010, 5:00 PM
Kind of a random suggestion but what if the movie focused more on his initial rise to becoming king and they cast somebody like Lee Thompson Young who is a GREAT actor and does his own stunts?

I dont know much about the character but I know he had to go through some trials to become king and then we can end with him kicking his older brother and the secret police out of Wakanda.
selinakyle - 8/19/2010, 5:02 PM
T'Chaka and T'Challa
XmutantX - 8/19/2010, 5:02 PM
brent@ dude u had a chance 2 talk 2 snipes and u didnt ask him if he was makin anotha Blade??? wow i woulda thought that woulda been a more obvious and practical question...
jazzman - 8/19/2010, 5:03 PM
@deadpool72

yeah he was in the first one also he was in Ace Ventura When Nature Calls, Mummy Returns and Get Rich or Die Tryin.

i feel the best actors for the role are Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Chiwetel Ejiofor cause they both great actors plus their got strong African heritage so they know how to make Black Panther work.
Hawksblueyes - 8/19/2010, 5:03 PM
Greatarticle Brent. Snipes is too old for the part now but he would make an excellent T Chaka. He could pass the torch down. ;P
tazmaniak - 8/19/2010, 5:03 PM
Yeah, he should be younger in the first movie.Thirty seems to be a good age, as he would need time to have attended college in America.

No actors really come to mind,.Though I could never see Lee Thompson Young in the role.He's no more than 5'8/5'9, so that wouldn't work.

Adewale, while a great actor, he just seems too mean to play a hero.He was really out of place in G.I. Joe.
ecksmanfan - 8/19/2010, 5:10 PM
He would've been good and there are a lot of actors who would've been great for the role...10 years ago.

How about Taye Diggs for Black Panther?
taye Pictures, Images and Photos
selinakyle - 8/19/2010, 5:11 PM
oh HELL NO!!!! @ecks
jazzman - 8/19/2010, 5:12 PM
@ecksmanfan

NOOOOOO
ecksmanfan - 8/19/2010, 5:14 PM
HAHAHAHA!!!! Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.
chumpchampion - 8/19/2010, 5:16 PM
If he wasn't already in Thor (as Heimdall) I'd say Idris Elba all the way. He's got the action and dramatic chops (The Losers, The Wire) and he's got some range (RocknRolla, The Office). The British star, who's also a DJ/Musician, is a leading man waiting in the wings and could have been a pretty solid T'Challa.
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