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What If Black Panther Was Cast In The 1990s?

At this point, it's beyond safe to say that Black Panther is more than a moment - it's a movement. Ryan Coogler's first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has far surpassed even the most optimistic early estimates about its box office potential, having recently overtaken Titanic's domestic gross at the box office.

The internet (a.k.a. black Twitter) is undefeated when it comes to championing the things they love in new and exciting ways. Because Black Panther is pretty much the highest thing on that list right now, it's been dominating social media for almost two months now. The most recent iteration of Wakandan appreciation has come in the form of fan-casting a 1990s version of the film, and it stands to reason that the best and biggest stars of the decade would play this group of iconic Marvel characters.

Related: Black Panther to Break Saudi Arabia’s 35-Year Movie Ban

In the '90s, the rights for Black Panther weren't tucked away safely at Marvel Studios, but instead were held by Columbia Pictures - who actually did have a Black Panther movie in development for a while. In 1994, Columbia was looking to cash in on their newly acquired IP, and planned to make a movie starring Wesley Snipes as T'Challa. But due to the fact that the studio, Snipes, and Stan Lee couldn't find the writer-director duo to bring their vision of the Panther to life, they stalled out during pre-production.

But let's assume that's not the case. Columbia finds an incredible script fit for the Wakandan king, and a director comes along who completely gets the story being told, and how to translate it visually. Now, it's time to cast.

This Page: T'Challa, Killmonger, Nakia and moreNext Page: W'Kabi, Shuri, M'Baku and more

Wesley Snipes as T'Challa

Wesley Snipes as Black Panther

Word is that Snipes was lobbying hard for the role. Of course he doesn't know that 4 short years later he could assume the role that defined an era as Blade. But in this alternate '90s universe, that doesn't have to be the case. Plus, it'd be hard to find another actor, at that time, with more draw than Wesley Snipes. His work clearly speaks for itself, and if we're being technical, he could easily be considered an OG of the superhero genre. He knows what he's doing.

Samuel L. Jackson as Killmonger

Of course, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury is perfect casting, and no one who's seen him play the character would want it any other way. But there's no possibility that a 1990s Black Panther makes it on the silver screen without him starring in it, and Mr. Jackson plays militant and vengeful in a way that almost no other actor can. A true juggernaut of the time, Sam had everything it took and more to match up against the strong, steady stoicism of Snipes' T'Challa.

Naomi Campbell as Nakia

Naomi Campbell's filmography is not the most extensive, but at that time she had made more than her fair share of cameos. And after her performances on the small screen in Empire and Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story: Hotel in our universe, it's clear that something is there.  If the casting director in this '90s alternate universe caught even a glimpse of her potential, the role of Nakia would be hers. Campbell has a penchant for both grace and sass, both of which are required to pull off a convincing spy ex-girlfriend turned love interest - not to mention that in the 90s, Campbell's star was possibly at its brightest ever.

Grace Jones as Okoye

Grace Jones as Okoye

This is almost too much of a no-brainer. There's no way that the look of the Dora Milaje was not in some ways inspired by her presence in pop culture (she even got name-dropped in Coogler's movie). Her character Zula in 1984's Conan the Destroyer was literally as fierce as they come, and if anyone was born to play the commander of this all-woman warrior corps, it was Grace Jones.

Woody Harrelson as Agent Ross

Woody Harrelson as Everett Ross

We already know that Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson can be a successful comedic one-two punch, and whoever would play this character would need a good doe eyed deer-in-headlights look that he pulls off effortlessly. 1990s Woody would be perfect at everything Martin Freeman brings to the role: he knows how to deliver lines that release tension, and he's even better at physical comedy that adds levity to action scenes.

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Key Release Dates
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
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