Last year, Marvel announced its intention to make lower budget films out of its lesser-known properties. For instance, a script for a Dr. Strange film is already in the works. Now, Marvel has brought a writer in to tackle the comic world's first legitimate Black superhero: Black Panther.
The company has had the rights to the character back in house since 2005, according to THR's Heat Vision blog. They were initially purchased years back by Columbia Entertainment who put a film into pre-production in the early '90s with Wesley Snipes attached to play T'Challa, heir to the ancient ruling dynasty in the fictional country of Wakanda. Since the the property has transferred to Artisan Entertainment, which was purchased by Lionsgate and then the rights went back to Marvel. Several years later, Marvel has made it's move and Mark Bailey will pen the adaptation.
If you're not reacting to that name -- it's totally normal. Bailey has only written/edited some HBO documentaries include "Pandemic: Facing AIDS" and "Ghost of Abu Ghraib." He does, however, have a feature film script being developed as a project for Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) based on the non-fiction book The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon.
Anyone's best guess here is that Marvel producer Kevin Feige must've liked Bailey's pitch for the character. In fact, I think it's better news that someone with legitimate action credits or something. You've got to figure someone so random must have legitimate interest in the character and Marvel's not simply tossing darts in hopes of landing a bullseye with this script.
Black Panther entered the scene courtesy Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in 1966. He first appeared in an issue of "Fantastic Four." The mythology on the character is a bit too extensive to write here, so check out Marvel's wiki page for the details (thanks JoBlo for pointing me toward it).
As usual, you have to understand that this is the very first phase of any film project, so a million things could keep this news from ever turning into more than this one piece of news. Either way, nice to see Marvel moving on another character and at least hoping to bring it to the screen.
No word as to whether or not "Panther" would ultimately fly under the Disney banner, but anything starting up at Marvel to this point likely is.
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