The Importance of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’
Can you name a predominantly Black multimillion-dollar movie franchise other than Madea? Bad Boys would count if Michael Bay wasn’t the director, and there we more than two movies in the series. So, then the answer is no, you can’t. All my favorite movie franchises star Caucasian men, such as Star Wars, every superhero movie ever, and LOTR. In fact, LOTR doesn’t even have a Black man… in six movies. Marvel’s Black Panther is poised to set up something that has never happened before, and I’m excited.
Black Panther is directed by Ryan Coogler, the man behind Fruitvale Station and Creed. Fruitvale Station was Coogler’s first feature film and it won multiple awards. He relaunched the classic, yet stale, Rocky franchise. The universe has been preparing Coogler for such a prestigious position; it’s not a coincidence that his third film will belong to a billion dollar multifilm shared universe. If you’ve seen the Avengers: Infinity Wars trailer, then you know Wakanda (Black Panther’s home country) plays a significant role in the upcoming superhero team-up. Black Panther is the last movie before the Avengers mash-up hits theaters, so in usual Marvel fashion it will most likely directly set up the events for the film. Ryan Coogler doesn’t need carry the weight of the franchise on his own though. The cast of Black Panther is absolutely spectacular.
Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa, a prince who is thrust into the role of the Black Panther after his father’s assassination in Captain America: Civil War. Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis form the rest of the superstar cast. Never, in American history, have Black people been represented so vastly in a multimillion-dollar franchise. There are both men and women, youth and elders, being represented as royalty. Personally, I’ve grown tired of the slave centric, Black redemption movies that have become a staple in Hollywood. It’s about time we see some stories on the big screen centered around Black power, Black royalty, and Black diversity.