[Update: There are conflicting reports as to the status of Black Panther. Scroll down for details.]
Comic book movie rumors are coming hard and fast in the summer 2012 season, and all of them are exciting. There has already been much speculation about plot points of both Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 - what villains will be featured, how they will build towards Avengers 2, etc. - and now we have yet another Marvel movie rumor that is sure to titillate fans:
Our friends over at Latino Review are continuing to drop exclusives like they're going out of style, and the latest comes from a handful of their "trusted sources" who all claim that Black Panther is on the way. Also rumored for a 2014 debut have been the long-in-development Ant-Man movie from Edgar Wright, and a Doctor Strange movie. Until we hear official confirmation from Marvel (say... around Comic-Con 2012?), any one of those films (or another unexpected pick) could be fair game for announcement.
For those who don't know, Black Panther (the alter-ego of T'Challa, prince of the fictional African nation of Wakanda), is a superhero with enhanced strength and agility, who uses his intellect, mysticism, and a variety of technological weapons developed from his country's primary resource - the metal alloy known as "vibranium" - to fight evil. Basically, he's like an African version of Batman. The character debuted in 1966 as the first mainstream black superhero, and has been a member of The Avengers since 1968. Many Marvel movie fans have been campaigning for Black Panther to join the Marvel Movie Universe (MMU); we even had him as one of our top picks for characters we want to see in Avengers 2.
This rumor comes as little surprise: A Black Panther project is something that Marvel (and other studios) have been trying to get off the ground for many years. Wesley Snipes was once attached to a Black Panther film Columbia Pictures was developing in the '90s; more recently, writer Mark Bailey was hired to pen a Black Panther screenplay for Marvel Studios, while Marvel Animation launched a cartoon version of the character - though that came and went so fast, few people likely know it exists. (You can check out the first episode HERE). In the first season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon - which is a direct echo of the MMU - Black Panther was also a late addition to the team, so clearly, launching the character into the mainstream has been on Marvel's agenda for some time.
UPDATE: Coming Soon states that their sources inside of Marvel Studios are denying this rumor. Then again, the studio always denies rumors. Marvel denied it when Latino Review revealed the Avengers Thanos news - and we all know how that turned out.
Black Panther is a character that is beloved with good reason. Simply put: he's pretty awesome (as African Batman would understandably be). The MMU could also stand to diversify a bit (as it stands, Black Widow is the Avengers entire diversity program, not counting Nick Fury), and the character has many ties to the established Avengers movie universe, as Wakanda gets a quick acknowledgment in Iron Man 2, and Captain America's shield is constructed from Vibranium - which also happens to be an alien metal. See the picture coming together?
The only question left, is: Who could play the Black Panther at this point? (For the record, guys like Snipes, Djimon Hounsou, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje are too old, and Idris Elba is already part of the Thor franchise. So set your nominations accordingly.)
We'll keep you updated as to whether or not anything truly pans out in regards to this Black Panther movie.
Source: Latino Review