Comic book movie studio Marvel has revealed more about its upcoming film “Black Panther,” a movie that will feature a black protagonist and keep Hollywood diversity moving forward, following the more diverse Oscar nominations this year.
“Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, or Black Panther, who is the ruler of the fictional country of Wakanda. The character was previously seen in the 2016 box office success “Captain America: Civil War.”
It had previously been announced that the “Black Panther” movie will co-star Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker. Now Marvel has also revealed that “Lord of the Rings” actor Andy Serkis will reprise his Marvel role as supervillain Ulysses Klaue, who appeared in the 2015 film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Also appearing will be Martin Freeman of “Sherlock,” who, like Mr. Boseman, debuted in the Marvel universe in “Captain America: Civil War,” in which he portrayed Everett K. Ross, who holds a position at the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre.
The “Black Panther” movie will be a step forward in diversity for Marvel, and Hollywood, following a more diverse Academy Awards season, after recent years' lack of diversity raised debate. Seven actors of color have been nominated for acting prizes for the 2017 Oscars, tying the number that were nominated in 2007. Within those seven, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also set a record for the number of black actors that were nominated, selecting six.
This will be the first time a movie released by Marvel Studios will have a black protagonist. Characters including the Falcon (portrayed by Anthony Mackie) and War Machine (portrayed by Don Cheadle) have appeared in Marvel Studios movies, but have not yet been the subject of their own movie.
Before Marvel Studios, superhero films with a black protagonist at the center included 1998’s “Blade,” starring Wesley Snipes, and its sequels, as well as 2004’s “Catwoman,” which is based on the DC Comics character of the same name and stars Halle Berry.