Now that Black Panther is next for Marvel Studios, the question is who should play him? There is a steady stream of seasoned and new actors that could take the role. Panther is a compassionate, level-headed, supergenius (similar to Reed Richards and Tony Stark) with superhuman skills in marital arts, who is also the protector/leader of Wakanda. Marvel will need to find an actor who can make Panther their own. While it’s likely that the studio will be aiming to create their own action star out of obscurity like with Chris “Thor” Hemsworth.
CHIWETEL EJIOFOR: This Whedon-alumni is quickly becoming a rather big name in the acting world. His upcoming film period drama 12 Years A Slave will likely end up earning him Oscar and BAFTA nominations. Chiwetel has been apart of some extremely interesting films such as Children of Men, American Gangster, Amistad and Inside Man. He’s also been apart of genre flicks such as Joss Whedon’s Serenity, Redbelt, 2012 and Salt so he’s not opposed to making a comic book film.
ANTHONY MACKIE: Mackie is my favorite so far as he has an equal amount of award type films and fun popcorn flicks. His serious roles include Million Dollar Baby, Hurt Locker, Half Nelson, 8 Mile and Gangster Squad. Anthony also has lighter roles as well in films like Real Steel, Eagle Eye, Pain And Gain, The Adjustment Bureau and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (action focused role). I feel like Chiwetel, Mackie could give real depth to T’challa.
DAVID OYELOWO: British actor David Oyelowo has been suggested by ThePlaylist, who have an in-depth look at possible actors. David got his start on the BBC spy series Spooks (M:I-5) leading to roles like The Last King of Scotland, The Help, Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Red Tails, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Christopher McQurrie’s Jack Reacher. Oyelwow might be a little older for the role but like Chiwetel is a seasoned actor that could knock it out of the park. Fitting in nicely among the other high profiled actors in the Avengers sequel.
NOEL CLARKE: Noel has been well-known in the UK developing himself as a talented actor and even director. Clearly his standout roles have been in Kidhulthood, Adulthood, Centurion and Doctor Who. The latter two must have caught the attention of J.J. Abrams leading to a supporting role in Star Trek 2. If Marvel wants another Chris Hemsworth type to mold as their own star, Clarke would make an excellent candidate.
NATE PARKER: Parker had been apart of Red Tails, which was a misstep of producer/writer George Lucas to make a large action war film focusing on a black cast. While the young talent was apparent in the film, it wasn’t well written or directed becoming a missed opportunity to make a great war film. I feel Nate would be a similar casting find as Derek Luke, who had been cast in Captain America as Gabe Jones (Howling Commandos) and stole a majority of his scenes. Luke had been cast because of his standout role in Spike Lee’s WWII drama Miracle At St. Anna. Jones would easily be one of the more interesting/developed black characters in the Marvel films as the eloquent linguist soldier was an empowering character that just didn’t use brute strength or anger to fight a problem. T’challa is a brilliantly developed character so with the right actor it could be career making role.
I feel like Marvel would be smart to pool younger unknown talent like Parker so they can create a new star into their fray like Chris Hemsworth. Like Hemsworth, he’s just as obscure and could develop into a solid action star. The studio’s mission statement has been to develop their own stars instead of just hiring established ones. I could be speaking out of school here but black audiences have proven with the massive success of the Tyler Perry films (and other black led casts) that you don’t need large stars to peak the interest of the black moving going public. BadassDigest has a solid write up on why Marvel is smart aiming for the black demographic alongside the comic fan audience. Panther could be the first stepping stone to see more faces of color as the lead heroes in these superhero films. Besides we can’t hang-onto Blade being the greatest black superhero, since he’s a niche character that isn’t accessible to children.
During an interview with Google+ Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth gave a brief statement on the rumors of him starring in his own Huntsman focused spin-off. It had been reported that Universal hired screenwriter David Koepp to write a treatment for a sequel to Snow White And The Huntsman with Rupert Sanders expected to return as director. The catch is that the film would center around Hemsworth’s character likely without Steward and Theron being involved. It’s not surprising since Universal currently doesn’t have a string of franchises to rely on. Chris has two rather strong franchises already with Thor and Avengers. It would be smart for the studio to capitalize if Snow White is successful as well.
“Yeah, sure, if there’s an audience for it and people wanna see it and there’s a great script and room to do something different with it, absolutely. I’ve heard probably the same rumors you have about possible sequels to this or prequels as far as the Huntsman’s storyline [goes]. We’re pretty elusive for the most of it; he begins having suffered some sort of trauma in a whole life before this point, and then at the end it’s left open as well. We had endless discussions about ‘where does he come from and why does he do this and what’s this about?’ and it all of a sudden opened up all these ideas about his whole life prior to this. I said, at one stage, ‘Maybe he could sort of spin-off into Cinderella world and then Sleeping Beauty, and he’s a Huntsman through the fairy tales,’ but that got shot down pretty quick (laughs).”
After the death of Coulson in the Avengers it seemed like the end of the infamous SHIELD agent. However, MTV has put together a very convincing theory that Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) could be Vision. MTV makes some strong points and it could be awesome to see Coulson evolve from agent to superhero. Then again, having Coulson stay dead means that the Marvel universe becomes slightly more grounded.
The android known as Vision was originally built by robotic villain Ultron and becomes an enemy of the Avengers. He fights against his creator only to join the ranks of the Avengers and fall in love with fellow villain-turned hero Scarlet Witch. His powers included the ability to change his density to float/fly and become spectre-like. If true, a scientist like Hank Pym (Ant-Man) might be the person to put this android together.
Vison had his own film in development but nothing official had been announced and his inclusion into the franchise would be very difficult. Establishing an android character would be hard for audiences to care about. If Vision per say “looked” like Coulson and was played by Clark Gregg fans could get behind him. To re-introduce Coulson as Vision wouldn’t make the Avengers sequel feel as bloated since he was around in the first installment. Phil has also been suspect as he’s not a comic book cannon character but created for Iron Man, this has always given fans the idea there was more to him.
» Life Model Decoys
It’s already been established that there are synthezoids and life model decoys in the Marvel movie universe. Life model decoys have been mentioned several times now, in both “Iron Man 2″ and “The Avengers,” while synthezoids were briefly discussed in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Since there are already fully functioning androids that exist, it seems only fair to assume that The Vision is just around the corner.
» Lack of Emotion
If there’s one thing people remember about Phil Coulson, it’s that he rarely showed any signs of emotion. Always appearing calm and collected, even after being stabbed through the chest by Loki, Coulson is already android-like in that regard. The fact that he had the foresight to advise Nick Fury to use his untimely death as a means of motivating the team only adds to Coulson’s cool and calculated nature.
» Stark Tower Security
Towards the beginning of “The Avengers,” Agent Coulson somehow manages to bypass all of the high tech security that Stark Tower has to offer. How is it that Coulson is able to waltz right in to the home of one of the richest and smartest men in the world? Well, perhaps he has the ability to manipulate his density. You know, making himself intangible and what not.
» One Good Eye
After the death of Coulson, Nick Fury states that he “lost his one good eye.” While this is clearly a play on words, being as Nick Fury wears an eye-patch, it could also be a reference to Coulson’s codename: Vision. In the field, Agent Coulson would act as Fury’s eyes allowing him to see anything and everything that Coulson sees firsthand. Get it? Vision? Eyes?
» Jim Hammond
The only thing that Agent Coulson ever showed the slightest bit of enthusiasm for was Captain America. Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch android, fought alongside Captain America on several occasions back in the ’40s, according to comic book lore. The body of Jim Hammond is also the original synthezoid on which The Vision was based. It’s a stretch, but that could serve as yet another clue that Coulson will come back in android form.
Android Jim Hammond/Human Torch’s cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger
Edgar Wright recently announced plans to shoot World’s End this September with a possible release in Spring 2013. This lead to thoughts of the production for Ant-Man being yet again delayed. It was odd since rumblings from Kevin Feige gave the impression Ant-Man was going to be announced as the next Marvel film. Not to mention that Wright tweeted an Ant-Man painting days before World’s End was revealed as his next film. Word from a recent chat with Edgar during an Empire podcast along with a quote from SlashFilm (in bold) gives the impression some footage and even full scenes for Ant-Man could also be shot this year. Speculation lead us to believe that Ant-Man could be that mystery film slated for May 2014 but that isn’t for-sure just yet.
“Things are happening, and other things are happening on other things as well. There’s some interesting plates spinning and I ideally hope I’ll be shooting this year….So as not to jinx things, I am going to remain spectacularly vague on this. Let’s just say I hope to shoot some Antman and World’s End this year.”
Nothing seems to be set in stone here but it sounds very promising. Perhaps this could be a sizzle-reel for Comic-Con 2013 or Comic-Con 2012 which would reveal the cast along with Edgar’s vision for the film. Edgar also rightly tells fans to chill out about how long it’s been taking considering it takes three years for each of his films to be made. It’s understandable considering he’s been hounded about Ant-Man for eight years by interviewers and fans-alike.
“I get quite superstitious because I don’t feel like anybody reading magazines and websites and stuff — quite understands how hard long it takes. Because the film websites update hourly, it’s like ‘What’s the fucking hold up? Just make it. Why isn’t it coming out tomorrow?’ But every film that I’ve made has taken like three years. Each one, it’s been three years between movies. I would love for that gap to be shorter, but the truth is there’s — it’s almost like a holding pattern. There are planes in the air and you have to figure out which one is going to land before they all crash like Die Hard 2.”
THR reports that funny man Clark Gregg (Avengers, 500 Days of Summer) has landed a supporting role in Jason Reitman’s (Up In The Air, Young Adult, Juno, Thank You For Smoking) Labor Day which stars Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet.
While everyone is filing into theaters to see The Avengers, many will be clueless about the mid-credit bonus scene that featured a purple faced alien. This cameo was that of Marvel villain Thanos who was likely pulling the strings of Loki’s army behind the scenes. Fans seem to be convinced that this was a teaser for Avengers 2. However, I believe this might be more connected with the Thor sequel. We know that Captain America 2 will follow Steve’s experiences with SHIELD after the events of Avengers, along with his integration into the modern world. Iron Man 3 will see Stark stranded again without his armor or his Avengers pals including SHIELD to help him out. Thor 2 on the other hand seems to be the more mysterious of the three sequels.
All we really know is that Jane, Erik and Darcy will be in Asgard while Loki will take a backseat as the main baddie. The population of Asgard will be doubled meaning a much larger cast. Alan Taylor is taking inspiration from his series Game of Thrones as Asgard is getting a downgrade makeover. Focusing more on it’s Norse roots instead of Flash Gordon inspired sets, we should expect a more rustic/grounded Asgard littered with ancient castles/towers/gates. Loki may or may not be fighting alongside Thor again as his brother.
Thanos could have a role in this film if only to claim Loki to repay his debt to him. Loki made a deal with Thanos to get an alien army to force his will upon Earth. Perhaps getting access to Odin’s vault and stealing the Infinity Gauntlet is his payment. This cosmic item seen in Odin’s vault is used by Thanos to kill half the population of the universe. This massive slaughter was an offering to Death (an actual being in female form) to show his love for her. It could lead to a conflict that might lead to Guardians of The Galaxy rather than straight into Avengers 2.
Now that Joss Whedon’s Avengers is quickly on it’s way to become one of the biggest films of all-time. Whedon will likely be getting dozens of offers from other studios with the hope of creating a new franchise or rebooting old ones. Hopefully this new success solidifies Joss as a feature film director and he keeps making large scaled films. A bunch of budding projects and ones stuck in development limbo could use some Whedon magic.
AKIRA: This horribly handled adaptation by Warner Bros. had recently put on hold when the studio couldn’t lock down a budget. One of the bigger issues was that the film would have almost zero similarities to the original manga and anime. Changing the characters (white-washing casting) and setting to be completely Americanized rather than embracing it’s Japanese roots. Whedon has proven he’s able to faithfully adapt similar material while creating more of cinematic scope and balls out action. An Akira film needs thrilling action set pieces and solid three dimensional characters which Joss could deliver with a brand new script.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: MOTU is finally back in the works thanks to Universal. Whedon’s stunning Cabin In The Woods script proves he could handle something like this. If you seen the film you know what I’m talking about. It could even use the satirical elements that were used in Cabin since it’s going to be tough to make a serious He-Man film without going along with the joke.
GHOST IN THE SHELL: Yet another another manga/anime project that’s been in development for ages. Dreamworks and producer Steven Spielberg haven’t really done much with this besides hiring Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Battle Angel) to write a script a few years back. I feel that Whedon could really knock this out of the park with being able to create strong female leads and supporting casts. Plus his background with Firefly means he can create a sci-fi focused futuristic world.
FLASH GORDON: Gordon has to be one of the greatest swashbuckling characters ever created. It’s last live-action film made in the 80’s is considered one of the best camp science fiction films ever made. The tongue-and-cheek action flick seems like a perfect project for Joss and seems like he could spread his wings creatively in the process. A script and director had been put together for a new film back in 2010 but nothing has come of it.
HALO: One of the biggest missed opportunities has to be this video game adaptation as at one point with both Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) and Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman) had been attached to direct the film. The two budding directors had directed popular live-action Halo commercials before jump into their own franchises. Blomkamp actually had started pre-production on it before the studio and Microsoft shut it down. Sanders had been more rumored but he would eventually remove himself from the running as he’s now focusing on a Huntsman spin-off to Snow White And The Huntsman. I’m sure a new Halo film with Joss Whedon directing and handling the script could spark another bidding war to make it.