is reporting that Marvel's next standalone superhero film following the currently-in-development sequels to Captain America, Iron Man and Thor will be Black Panther. The story, which has been picked up by MTV News, suggests that a script written by documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey, who was contracted to write a Black Panther movie 18 months or so ago, has been extremely well-received by Marvel Studios and will head into active development soon.
Latino Review also claims that the clues have been there all along, from the presence of Wakanda--and its most famous export, vibranium--in earlier Marvel movies to Marvel's reclaiming the lapsed rights after the Wesley Snipes version of the film fell through years ago.
T'Challa, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda and husband to fan-favorite X-Man Storm, serves as Black Panther, the country's traditional masked protector and sometime Avenger.
If true, Black Panther will be the first nonwhite Marvel hero to headline his own major theatrical release (DC at one point had Steel, but it's not really the same thing). Latino Review points out that T'Challa has a strong African-American following in spite of the fact that conventional wisdom tends to dismiss African Americans as a potential audience for comic books. Flying in the face of most Western fiction about Africa, Wakanda is a wealthy, technologically-advanced and largely peaceful country, and the strong message that the character sends has led a number of African-American actors to express interest over the years, second only perhaps to Luke Cage.
An animated movie featuring the character was made as a direct-to-video production from Marvel a few years ago, written by fan-favorite Black Panther writer Reginald Hudlin. Who wants to bet that particular film sees a massive traffic spike on Netflix this week?