The king known as T’Challa may loom large in the Marvel Universe and the hearts of many of its comic-reading fans, but for the hero known as the Black Panther, the path to wider fame and film fortunes has been a tougher road.
However, today that road may have gotten a little easier as word is out that Marvel Studios has set the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby-created character (Marvel’s first Black superhero) back into development. The Hollywood Reporter has the news that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has tapped documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a draft of a new “Panther” screenplay.
Originally a supporting player in “The Fantastic Four,” the Black Panther and his technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda have been on the path to movie stardom for years dating back to development deals in the early ’90s featuring actor Wesley Snipes as the favored lead. The rights bounced from Columbia Pictures to Artisan Entertainment to Lionsgate who returned the rights back to Marvel in 2005 along with a host of other characters.
Recently, the hero was slated to star in his own animated TV show on BET based on a comic run by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita, Jr., however legal complications kept the show from the air. The full series was just released on DVD.
Bailey comes to writing this new screenplay after working on the non-fiction screenplay adaptation of “The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon” for director Doug Liman. Perhaps it was this work that drew his talents to Feige’s attention.