It’s no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty lilly-white since its inception. Aside from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Don Cheadle as War Machine, the Marvel films heretofore have not featured very many heroes of color. That’s why so many Nerds of Color — including our very own Shawn Taylor whose advice on “How Not to Screw Up a Black Panther Film” is must reading, by the way — have been clamoring for a live action Black Panther for so long. Well, the rumor mill went into overdrive this week when Latino Review’s El Mayimbe sent out the following tweet:
Did you guys see BLACK PANTHER on the cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue?
— Umberto Gonzalez (@elmayimbe) February 3, 2014
If you weren’t aware, every Oscar season Vanity Fair puts out a special “Hollywood Issue” celebrating established and up-and-coming movie stars. And each year, Vanity Fair is usually called out for not depicting actors of color on the cover (and when they do, they’re usually inside the gatefold). So it was a pretty big deal to see Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor on the newsstands this time around. But if we are to believe El Mayimbe’s tweet, that would mean that one of them is the frontrunner for the role. Since Elba is already part of the MCU as Heimdall in the Thor films, that must mean Oscar-nominated Ejiofor is surely T’Challa, right?
Well, if you open up the gatefold cover, you’ll see two more possible contenders in the form of Fruitvale Station’s Michael B. Jordan and 42′s Chadwick Boseman. However, because Jordan is all but assured to play the Human Torch in Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot — to the dismay of many fanboys — that leaves Boseman as the other possibility. Yahoo UK used a similar process of elimination to come up with a similar conclusion. Since the tweet originated from Latino Review, though, all signs point to Chadwick Boseman since that site has been claiming him as Marvel’s top choice for months now.
All of this is on top of the fact that Marvel chairman emeritus Stan Lee told Larry King this week that Black Panther “will be a movie pretty soon,” and you have a perfect storm of internet chatter about a potential film that’s been decades in the making.
One thing is for sure: before production starts, they better take Shawn’s advice under consideration.
The Black Panther is a character unto himself. He needs to be afforded the same care and consideration of the other Marvel-verse heroes and their various “phase” films.
At this point, everything is all rumor. We’ll see how seriously Marvel Studios takes this character when we get official announcements of screenwriters and directors.