Marvel Studios recently launched Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the premiere of Captain America: Civil War, which found success both at the box office as well as with critics and casual movie fans alike. In addition to acting as the launchpad for Phase 3, Captain America: Civil War also worked to introduce two new heroes to the MCU, Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and T'Challa a.k.a. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) - both of whom will go on to star in their own films within the MCU in the coming years.
The Black Panther solo outing, set to be directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed) from a script he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole, is currently in the process of casting with the film set to debut early in 2018. Now, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has teased one aspect of what fans can expect from the cast of Black Panther.
"That will be amongst the best ensembles we’ve ever had, and 90 percent of the cast is either African or African-American."
Although the full cast of Black Panther has yet to be announced, rumors surrounding the project certainly seem to back up Feige's comment. In addition to Boseman, the talent associated with Black Panther include Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o (Queen of Katwe, The Jungle Book) and the recently announced Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four).
As for returning MCU characters, it remains to be seen if Andy Serkis will reprise his Avengers: Age of Ultron role Ulysses Klaue, a frequent antagonist of Black Panther, or Martin Freeman of his Civil War role Everett K. Ross, who often worked with T'Challa in political spheres in the Marvel comics. Additionally, given where the stories of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) left off in the post-credits scene of Civil War, it remains to be seen whether they will be included in Black Panther as well.
In terms of diverse representation, Marvel Studios recently received criticism for the next film on its slate, Doctor Strange, specifically for a lack of prominent Asian or Asian-American characters in a story containing many Asian influences. However, Marvel Studios, Feige, and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson have responded to the criticism, largely with assurances that they are "listening and learning" from the fans. If the cast of Black Panther - and Feige's comments about it - are any indication, though, it seems Marvel is following through and delivering more diverse representation in its upcoming films.
Captain America: Civil War is now in theaters, and is followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
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