Black Panther almost featured another black hero from Marvel comics, Patriot. There is an incredible amount of excitement building for the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther is positioned to be a very influential and impactful movie not only in the MCU, but in all of Hollywood. The attention comes as Marvel Studios makes their first film led by a person of color, giving the African-American community a platform unlike anything before.
The movie will focus on T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) taking over as the king of Wakanda, the high-tech fictional African country. Included in the film is an impressive lineup featuring Hollywood staples and rising stars of color. Black Panther is said to be very topical and political with a tone similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while being self-contained to this new corner of the MCU. As it turns out, they almost included another one of Marvel's black superheroes.
CinemaBlend spoke to Black Panther's director Ryan Coogler as part of the film's press junket. In the interview, Coogler revealed that in earlier drafts of the script, Black Panther featured Elijah Bradley aka Patriot. As he went on to explain, his inclusion was removed later on in the process by he and writer Joe Robert Cole to keep the focus on Wakanda. Additionally, every other main character in the movie was always part of the plan.
Crazy enough, for comic book fans, we toyed with the character Patriot for a little bit. Early on we were interested to get our hands on him, Joe [Robert Cole] and I, but that ended up going away so we could focus on Wakanda a little more.
The ones that you see were kind of always there. M'Baku, Killmonger, T'Challa, Nakia, Okoye, Shuri, Ramonda, Klaue, Everett Ross... they were always in every draft. So we had to make sure that they all had arcs, and it had something to do with that.
The thought of including Patriot in Black Panther is a nice nugget for Coogler to give fans. Based on what we know about the film, it isn't clear how he would factor into the story as he is not a Wakanda native. That is just in the comics, and it is possible they toyed with changing his origin a bit, but it could be a sign of some non-Wakanda storylines being present.
While fans of Bradley in the comics could be bummed to know he was close to making his live-action debut in Black Panther and won't, there is some light to take from this. If Patriot was ever considered, it could show that Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige have him in mind for future stories. How quickly a debut could come now remains to be seen, but its possible Black Panther was going to start laying the foundation for the Young Avengers.
Bradley is a founding member of the Young Avengers, taking inspiration from Captain America and Bucky for his look, while utilizing throwing stars as his weapon of choice. Joining Bradley on the initial roster was Iron Lad, Hulkling, and Wiccan. The latter has been linked to Avengers 4 thanks to speculation regarding a casting call asking for twin boys. The team is only formed after the Avengers are disbanded, which could be a very real possibility after Thanos comes to Earth. Bottom line, Bradley being considered could mean the Young Avengers are coming and could help usher in a youth movement for the MCU in Phase 4 and beyond. And if not, then Coogler could always get the chance to introduce Patriot in Black Panther 2.
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