Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Still Campaigning for Marvel's 'Black Panther'

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje marvel black panther

During the press line for Universal's prequel to The Thing, I had a chance to speak with actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who fans best associate with the character of "Mr. Eko" from Lost.

Aside from talking about his role in The Thing prequel, the proper pronunciation of his name or the many accents he seems to have mastered, I took the opportunity to ask Adewale about the long-standing reports that he is interested in a future role as Marvel's Black Panther.

Back in the summer of 2009, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (or Triple A as he's known) was at the San Diego Comic-Con, where he made his intentions to play Black Panther known to the world:

“We’re talking to Marvel about ‘Black Panther… This is the first round, so you know, hopefully they’ll look at ‘G.I. Joe’ and see the potential. But it’s about time we have a black superhero, isn’t it?”

“He’s from a fictional village in Africa and the timing is so right for that kind of character to come through… And while I’m in my prime, this is the time. We’ve got [U.S. President Barack] Obama, now we need something onscreen to represent, so… ‘Panther,’ man.”

He may want to drop the Obama association (it's not as favorable as it once was), but during the 2010 New York Comic-Con, "Triple A" seemed as resolute as ever about pursuing the part. As he said to me in our interview:

"I would love to see that happen, and I think the more we - my people - campaign for that, the more viable it will be. And I mean, obviously appearing in cult-classics and blockbusters all help, we're very much on [Marvel's] radar...I think it's all about campaigning, I'm going to keep knocking on their door."

During the conversation, Triple A added that he knows Marvel is intently focused on their immediate slate of projects - Thor, Captain America and The Avengers - but that perhaps when that first phase of films was complete, and Marvel starts exploring other superhero movie possibilities, there would be an increased window of opportunity for him to snag the coveted role of T'Challa, the Black Panther.

marvel movies captain america black panther
"Hurry up so I can get my own movie deal!"

But is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje a proper fit for Black Panther? Personally, I would consider him, Chiwetel Ejiofor or Idris Elba as prime candidates for the part (Wesley Snipes and Djimon Hounsou are a bit too old for my tastes). Recently, Elba expressed interest in playing Luke Cage and Triple A actually has a background (Nigerian, raised in England, working in America for a decade) that would seem to be a good fit for a character who hails from an African nation but is educated and experienced in the world - so why not cast him? He certainly has the acting chops.

First things first, however - Marvel needs to actually move ahead with a Black Panther film (and whatever happened to that Black Panther animated series, Marvel?).

Well keep you posted on Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's career moves (G.I. Joe 2 for instance) and his chances of playing Black Panther as news unfolds. Stay tuned.

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