Marvel announced plans for future movie releases, among them a confirmation that the studio would produce a Black Panther solo film—and a reveal: they have already found the actor who will portray the formidable superhero in Chadwick Boseman.
During an interview with ABC News, Marvel exec Tom Brevoort emphasized the importance of the Marvel character. He said, “The Black Panther, he was the first superhero of color in 1966. At the time, it was still considered daring. He is the latest in a long line of Black Panthers. His father was a Black Panther before him and his father before him, and so forth.”
As the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, which is “more technologically advanced and wealthier than any other nation on Earth,” the Panther has a great deal of responsibility, and he handles it well. “[He is] a learned man, a scientist, a world traveler, a man of culture, a man of great dignity and respect,” added Brevoort.
Boseman portrayed legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42 and the “Godfather of Soul” (James Brown) in Get On Up, proving he is more than capable of taking on iconic roles. But he recently admitted to CBR News that he was surprised by the fan response to Marvel’s announcement. “The reaction on stage at the El Capitan Theater was, like, amazing,” Boseman said. “Just to be there—the way that Marvel set it up and wanted to surprise people with it—it was one of the best surprises that I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve heard from a lot of my friends, and a lot of people I didn’t know have congratulated me. I tried to get away from everything just to ground myself. But it’s been amazing. I’m so excited! I’m ready to start right now, and they’re telling me: ‘Slow down a little bit!'”
Boseman is keenly aware of the magnitude of the opportunity. “It’s never been done. It’s been done before in different ways, but it’s never been done exactly like this,” he said. “Wesley Snipes also had his own franchise–you have to acknowledge that. You have to acknowledge what [Anthony] Mackie’s doing [with the Falcon]. But this is a little different in the way that Marvel is presenting it, so it’s amazing.”
The studio plans to keep the actor around for awhile. Deadline reports that Boseman has signed a five-film deal that kicks off with 2016’s Captain America: Civil War—before the Black Panther stand-alone film debuts in 2017.