June 5, 2012


Now that Black Panther is next for Marvel Studios, the question is who should play him? There is a steady stream of seasoned and new actors that could take the role. Panther is a compassionate, level-headed, supergenius (similar to Reed Richards and Tony Stark) with superhuman skills in marital arts, who is also the protector/leader of Wakanda. Marvel will need to find an actor who can make Panther their own. While it's likely that the studio will be aiming to create their own action star out of obscurity like with Chris "Thor" Hemsworth.

CHIWETEL EJIOFOR: This Whedon-alumni is quickly becoming a rather big name in the acting world. His upcoming film period drama 12 Years A Slave will likely end up earning him Oscar and BAFTA nominations. Chiwetel has been apart of some extremely interesting films such as Children of Men, American Gangster, Amistad and Inside Man. He's also been apart of genre flicks such as Joss Whedon's Serenity, Redbelt, 2012 and Salt so he's not opposed to making a comic book film.

ANTHONY MACKIE: Mackie is my favorite so far as he has an equal amount of award type films and fun popcorn flicks. His serious roles include Million Dollar Baby, Hurt Locker, Half Nelson, 8 Mile and Gangster Squad. Anthony also has lighter roles as well in films like Real Steel, Eagle Eye, Pain And Gain, The Adjustment Bureau and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (action focused role). I feel like Chiwetel,  Mackie could give real depth to T'challa.

DAVID OYELOWO: British actor David Oyelowo has been suggested by ThePlaylist, who have an in-depth look at possible actors. David got his start on the BBC spy series Spooks (M:I-5) leading to roles like The Last King of Scotland, The Help, Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Red Tails, Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and Christopher McQurrie's Jack Reacher. Oyelwow might be a little older for the role but like Chiwetel is a seasoned actor that could knock it out of the park. Fitting in nicely among the other high profiled actors in the Avengers sequel.

NOEL CLARKE: Noel has been well-known in the UK developing himself as a talented actor and even director. Clearly his standout roles have been in Kidhulthood, Adulthood, Centurion and Doctor Who. The latter two must have caught the attention of J.J. Abrams leading to a supporting role in Star Trek 2. If Marvel wants another Chris Hemsworth type to mold as their own star, Clarke would make an excellent candidate.

NATE PARKER: Parker had been apart of Red Tails, which was a misstep of producer/writer George Lucas to make a large action war film focusing on a black cast. While the young talent was apparent in the film, it wasn't well written or directed becoming a missed opportunity to make a great war film. I feel Nate would be a similar casting find as Derek Luke, who had been cast in Captain America as Gabe Jones (Howling Commandos) and stole a majority of his scenes. Luke had been cast because of his standout role in Spike Lee's WWII drama Miracle At St. Anna. Jones would easily be one of the more interesting/developed black characters in the Marvel films as the eloquent linguist soldier was an empowering character that just didn't use brute strength or anger to fight a problem. T'challa is a brilliantly developed character so with the right actor it could be career making role.

I feel like Marvel would be smart to pool younger unknown talent like Parker so they can create a new star into their fray like Chris Hemsworth. Like Hemsworth, he's just as obscure and could develop into a solid action star. The studio's mission statement has been to develop their own stars instead of just hiring established ones. I could be speaking out of school here but black audiences have proven with the massive success of the Tyler Perry films (and other black led casts) that you don't need large stars to peak the interest of the black moving going public. BadassDigest has a solid write up on why Marvel is smart aiming for the black demographic alongside the comic fan audience. Panther could be the first stepping stone to see more faces of color as the lead heroes in these superhero films. Besides we can't hang-onto Blade being the greatest black superhero, since he's a niche character that isn't accessible to children.

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