Black Panther will further explore Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross and demonstrate just how different he is from the comics. From his time on the original The Office to playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, Martin Freeman has made quite a name for himself in nerdier circles. As such, his casting in Captain America: Civil War was exciting (not least of which because it promised an eventual team-up with his Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch). But while the cantankerous Everett Ross made an impressions during his short time on screen, his comic book destiny meant he’d soon return to the MCU for a trip to Wakanda.
With Black Panther just weeks away, any fans looking to avoid spoilers may need to turn off their computers. More information is pouring in regarding the film, including the idea that Black Panther may go to space. In terms of the terrestrial, the first clip from Black Panther was released yesterday, showing off the incredible power of T’Challa’s suit. It’s thanks to the unique properties of vibranium that so many factions will be gunning for the throne in Black Panther—causing Ross to step in on behalf of the U.S.
During the set visit for Black Panther, we heard from Martin Freeman about his role in the movie. And not only will it differ from his previous appearance in the MCU, but from Ross’ fish-out-of-water character in the comics.
“He is the coolest man in the room [Laughs]. He has some authority. He’s good at his job. I think we’re going as realistic as you can be in a heightened universe. It would be slightly incredible for him not to be good at his job and not to be competent at this position that he’s at. He’s good at his job. He’s well traveled. He’s well versed in the ways of the world. Wakanda is gonna be a surprise to him. But, in terms of meeting diplomats, kings, that’s not particularly fazing to him. He meets superheroes, he meets, you know, so I think some of his humor comes from exasperation rather than … Like that. Do you know what I mean? That’s not his function, I guess, in this.”
Ross in the comics has often been an odd man out. Though he’s been made more competent over the years, his beginnings saw him as a more bumbling presence. Created by Christopher Priest, Ross debuted in 1998’s Ka-Zar #17. Soon enough, however, he made the leap to Priest’s Black Panther run where he served as the ambassador to Wakanda. His role in the MCU is a bit different, but Black Panther the movie will see him connecting the reclusive kingdom to the larger world. But more than just a bureaucrat, Ross will prove his worth.
“He’s not, like he is a suit, literally he’s a suit I guess, but he would have been trained, like everyone in his position would have had field training and he would have done little bits, I think, in the field even though he’s not an all action guy. I think, he’s essentially a decent person who is wanting to save lives where possible, even thought that doesn’t take up 100% of his day. Most of his stuff I think is diplomacy. Really, I think if he’s dealing with people from other countries, other cultures, I think he’s good at making his agenda, the agenda that he wants on the table, you know. That’s it, I think unless he’s hanging out with superheroes he’s pretty high status guy. Like, he would be the guy in the room, everybody’s like, ‘Okay, he’s here.’ But the guys he’s hanging out with are even more high status, so. Yeah, I think his job would mean that he has to have both of those things, which again would be kind of different, I guess, from the comics. Like him actually being a physically able person and an intellectually able person and I think morally kind of sound? You know, as sound as you can be if you’re high up in the CIA. Like, some of the decision you will have to make will not be pleasant and will not be things that we would want to make but you have to make them and he’s by no means … ‘Cause he could be the man, and he works for the man, but within that, he’s a decent guy I think, you know.”
We’ve heard since back in 2015 that Black Panther is a geopolitical thriller, and it’s been clear from the trailers and images so far that the film will involve plenty of globe-trotting. It’s for that reason that Black Panther is the James Bond of the MCU. Ross will slot into that by tying T’Challa and his mission into the global political system and it’s likely Freeman will continue on in future Black Panther films.
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