Marvel’s Black Panther almost starred a character from the Young Avenger lineup: Elijah “Eli” Bradley, aka Patriot. According to director Ryan Coogler, he and co-writer Joe Robert Cole were interested in including the character but ultimately gave him up in order to focus more heavily on Wakanda.
“Crazy enough, for comic book fans, we toyed with the character Patriot for a little bit,” Coogler told CinemaBlend. “Early on we were interested to get our hands on him, Joe [Robert Cole] and I, but that ended up going away so we could focus on Wakanda a little more.”
Patriot debuted in 2005’s Young Avengers #1 by Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung. Eli hoped to become a hero and follow in the steps of his grandfather Isaiah, who took part in a dangerous and experimental offshoot of the Super Soldier program that produced Captain America. Donning a version of the costume his grandfather once wore, Eli became a founding member of the Young Avengers alongside Wiccan, Hulkling, Hawkeye, Iron Lad and Stature. He hails from New York City.
A version of Patriot appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the two characters have nothing in common but their name. S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Jeffrey Mace was based on an earlier version of the character that was introduced in 1941’s The Human Torch #1. Eli assumed the mantle many years later and is completely unrelated to the original character.
Directed by Ryan Coogler from a script he wrote with Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, and Forest Whitaker as Zuri. The Marvel Studios film arrives in theaters on February 16.
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