With the success of The Avengers movie, all of Marvels heroes are getting a second look at their feature film potential… and one of the most interesting and unique stories in the House of Ideas is that of Black Panther and the Wakandan nation. Last week Latino-Review.com posted the rumors that T’Challa was on his way to the big screen, and the time is now to bring Wakanda to the world.
The Black Panther story mixes the chivalrous warrior nature of Captain America with the royal backdrop of Thor, but for Black Panther to work it needs to be more than that. To work, the Black Panther mythos needs to be broken down into an origin story for T’challa as well as Wakanda has a hidden hi-tech kingdom buried in shadows of Africa. For this, I ‘d have it play out as a twisted version of Thor with T’Challa as a prince alongside his adopted older brother Hunter, but with the roles reversed: Hunter as more of the brawler and T’Challa more as the thinker. After their father T’Chaka, the current Black Panther, is murdered when physicist Ulysses Klaw comes to Wakanda after vibranium. What ensues is a power struggle between T’Challa and Hunter over the mantle of Black Panther as well as the direction of the country to stave off Klaw and his minions.
It’ll take a precise hand in the director’s chair to be able to chart a gripping story while not turning this into a stereotypical movie, and Antoine Fuqua is just the man to do that. The Training Day helmer has had his share of lackluster films, but through them all they show an immense amount of heart as well as the bonds of a father-son type relationship. I’d love to see Fuqua get hold of this project and steer it, and I’ve got just the passengers to make quite a ride.
T’Challa – Chiwetel Ejiofor: For years I’ve been trying to come up with the perfect actor to play T’Challa, and I was left with a blank until I saw the under-rated MMA film RedBelt. Chiwetel Ejiofor really embodied the warrior spirit in this and could defiantly carry it over here as Black Panther.
T’Chaka – Denzel Washington: Denzel Washington is one of the greatest actors in our generation, and he’s shown he’s not afraid to step outside the down-to-earth drama and into more fantastical movies (as evidenced by Book of Eli). He could be the embodiment of T’Chaka as the long-ruling king of Wakanda and definitely set up just how big the shoes of the Black Panther are to fill.
Ulysses Klaw – Bryan Cranston: After his riveting turn in Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is on everybody’s short list these days but I think playing Klaw would be perfect for him and for the movie. It might necessitate some changes in the wardrobe department, but I really think Cranston could be a scene-stealing villain that’s more than just the stereotypical “rich white man coming to plunder Africa” character.
Ramona – Gina Torres: After the death of T’Chaka, Ramona’s role becomes pivotal into the ongoing story of T’Challa and the Wakandan nation. I’d love to see Gina Torres slip into this motherly role while also dusting off some of her Firefly fighting skills.
Hunter, The White Wolf – Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: A couple years back, Akinnuoye-Agbaje lobbied hard for the Black Panther role but I’d say he’s more perfect as T’Challa’s adopted older brother, Hunter. I’d love to see him push T’Challa close to the brink in their competition for their father’s crown and title, while still pulling it together at the end.