|"Unlike Batman, I |
know to armor my face."
However, that character also presents a number of problems for a studio. First off, the character is black. As I mentioned in my post on available properties at Marvel and DC, Hollywood shies away from action movies starring black actors that aren't named Will Smith, Denzel Washington, or Wesley Snipes. The fact that that generation is aging and they haven't really replaced it with a new group is troubling, both in general and for our hypothetical BP movie. There's a fear that, without one of those names that has reliably brought in the wider (also, whiter) movie-going audience, the studio will make a movie that will, at best, break even, and the break-even point for a Marvel movie these days is often at or near the billion-dollar range, after marketing expenses, etc. are figured in.
|Man. Ape. *facepalm*|
Wakanda is another problem. People sometimes say, "Well, they can do a movie in space, or Atlantis, and they can't do one in Africa?" But Wakanda presents an uncanny valley problem, writ large. It's supposed to be a peaceful, wealthy, technologically advanced, egalitarian society... sitting in the middle of Africa, the most war-torn, impoverished, least technologically advanced continent in the world, where ethnic clashes still happen. There are literally still genocides going on there. Back when Coming to America came out, I remember reviewers basically saying, "Hey, if that's an African nation and they're living like that, what is happening with their subjects? How much of that opulence is on the back of the poor in their country?" And then you expand it further. If Wakanda is more technologically advanced than America or Europe, and as wealthy, and they're just sitting there and not doing anything to help the continent around them, that's bad. I mean, on a moral level, that's really bad, and then it creates a cognitive dissonance that's bad for the movie.
So, how do you make a good BP movie that avoids all of these problems? I'll be honest, it's a tough nut to crack. Here's what I would do:
|We'll get you in a movie yet, guys.|
The post-credits sequence is Nick Fury in the Wakandan throne room with T'Chaka, T'Challa's father. If possible, I'd get Denzel for T'Chaka, in the same way the studio got Anthony Hopkins to play Odin for Thor. Fury is asking T'Chaka to enter into a defensive pact with SHIELD, saying something like, "You can see that the threats to our world transcend national boundaries. In times of great need, can we count on the support of Wakanda and the Black Panther?" T'Chaka pauses and says, "No. Wakanda will take care of Wakanda, as we always have. We are not your puppets. You go and take care of your people." A stunned and angry Nick Fury walks out, as T'Challa sneaks into the hallway and he and Nick exchange a few words, ending with, "I love my father, but he is a stubborn man. Let me talk to him." End movie.
Wakanda, in the Marvel movieverse, has closed itself off from other nations, with limited diplomatic contact for over 100 years for... whatever reason. Go back as far as they need to to find a reason for isolationism; the British Empire's expansions into Africa should work. The Black Panther movie itself is a coming of age (sort of; T'Challa's already a 20- or 30-something man at this point) story for T'Challa, where he sees his father die to court intrigue and ultimately assumes the mantle of the Black Panther. Figure that somewhere in there is Ulysses Klaw, former SHIELD agent turned weapons dealer, and Man-Ape or someone similar (preferably with less racially-charged iconography), with T'Challa retaking the throne and beginning to lead his people in tentative steps back into contact with America and the rest of the world, including a call to Nick Fury with lines about "Wakanda will never be a puppet, but we will stand with you when it is in our interests" or something similar. The post-credits scene is the recruitment of Klaw by ... someone, maybe Baron Zemo, if he ends up in the Winter Soldier movie, into a group of individuals that have a bone to pick with the Avengers, with some namedropping of folks that will let the fans know this is the formation of the Masters of Evil.
Obviously, there's a lot of ways they could go with the Black Panther movie. But they need to do something with it, and they need to start moving on it soon.