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Marvel Co-President Louis D’Esposito: Wakanda Implausible

Yenny Coll 08/23/2012 Features

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is expecting several exciting movie releases in the near future, including Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3, as well as an Ant-Man film, all eventually leading up to an Avengers sequel. Another highly anticipated Marvel film takes place in the prosperous but secretive African nation of Wakanda where King T’Chaka rules. Wakanda is also home of large deposits of vibranium, the rare metal from which Captain America’s shield was formed, and of the King’s son, T’Challa, better know as Black Panther.

However, Marvel’s co-president Louis D’Esposito has been quoted as saying that a world like Wakanda would be difficult to fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t think anyone believes that Mr. D’Esposito is referring to executing the actual conceptualization of Wakanda on the silver screen; after all, Marvel managed to pull off Asgard. What he probably means is that it is easier to convince viewers of the existence of brawling, white Norse gods that can seamlessly travel to Earth, our world, and either render it asunder or protect it valiantly, than it is to convince viewers of the existence of a self-sustaining, powerful, and technologically advanced African nation.

While seemingly harmless and not at all a reflection of Marvel’s views (the first major film Marvel ever licensed was, after all, Blade), D’Esposito’s statement had some definite underlying racism and has caused waves of incredulity and anger among many circles. Black Panther is a prominent member of the Avengers on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and even had his own show, entitled Black Panther, on BET for a while. He has also appeared in almost every Marvel animated television series and film at least once (he is even expected to make an appearance on Ultimate Spider-Man).  We have one independent, non-derivative, truly African hero, the leader of an entire technologically advanced, independent nation, and we want him to Assemble right alongside the rest of the Avengers. Most would agree he deserves his own place in MCU and his own movie.

Leave us your comments below and tell us what you think!

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About The Author

Biological age: Early 20s, Spiritual age: I've lost count. Currently a college student trying to find her place in the world, I enjoy a good book as much as a good movie. A New Jersey native and a frequent visitor of the Big Apple. Part-time lover and full-time friend.

  1. Andrew Taylor 08/23/2012 at 6:37 pm

    Apparently Mr. D'Esposito is unaware of: a) that audiences are willing to suspend disbelief for just about anything as long as the creators roll with it, b) that civilizations with advanced technology are part and parcel of the pulp tradition that birthed the superhero, c) the entire African continent has a history of empires and technological wonders, and d) Marvel used to make its name off of using concepts to address larger issues, and Black Panther's one of the biggest examples of that, and a movie about T'Challa would be a welcome addition to a genre that (apart from Blade) has been dominated by white guys.

    His casual dismissal is damning evidence of the cowardice behind Marvel's current leadership.

    • Marty 08/25/2012 at 11:31 pm

      I am not going call this man a racist because I don't know if it is true or not! How ever when anything percieved where Blacks are involved in a Positive and or Powerful light there will always be someone who is not Black to say it is not possible! So now here we are again Where a man says Wakanda would be difficult to fit in the Marvel Cienamatic Universe! Are you Kidding me! It is all Fantasy The Marvel Universe is a Fantasy of a mans imagination of what if! So what you are saying is you can't come up with a Fantasy Nation in a Fantasy World? Please Spare me! If don't want to make the movie don't But be truthful about it and don't feed me some racist excuse!

  2. MorteM 08/24/2012 at 10:08 pm

    Well said, Andrew

  3. Anonymous 08/27/2012 at 5:41 am

    Mark my words.

    No matter how many times we are promised a Black Panther movie, it will never be made. And heres why.

    Most of the money Marvel has and hopes to garner from these movies comes from the pockets of young white moviegoers (blacks and hispanics too, but predominantly whites)

    The Black Panther name

  4. The Amber Duke 08/27/2012 at 6:26 am

    A few reasons it will never be made:

    1) The Black Panther party:

    leaves a bad taste in white mouthes

    2) He's physically impossing

    3) He kicks white asses

    4) He's smarter than most folks. 8th smartest

    man in the world by Marvel canon.

    5) He kicks white asses

    6) As a king, he's got diplomatic immunity

    7) They've tried this before with Blade. Made

    money but enough to justify kicking white

    ass

    8) He is critical of America

    9) Duh he's BLACK!

    He might appear in some other hero's movie. If so, they will nerf him like Worf or the black Teen Titan. So that instead of being the Black Batman, he will be foolish and need rescuing.

    The money they've made and hope to continue making from these movies, comes predominantly from the pockets of young white moviegoers (blacks and hispanics too but to a much lesser extent) And the idea of an un-nerfed, physically impossing, genius level, monarch, black superhero, is just too big and bitter a pill for white folks to swallow. So, no matter how many times they promise it, trust me a Black Panther movie will NEVER see the light of day.

    • Cassidy 09/17/2012 at 7:32 pm

      True. Heck, it took Disney 70 years to finally make a Princess movie with a black female. I remember Oprah Winfrey saying something about that being the first and last time Disney would ever make a movie with a black lead because of all the controversy.

      White people don't want to see a movie with a black lead and black people would be upset at the idea of a jungle because they don't read the comics.

      And yeah, his name is unappealing…I can see Fox News throwing a hissy fit and creating a controversy and all that.

  5. Skott Jimenez 08/27/2012 at 9:39 am

    I don't think it's a race issue. It could be that, outside of the fans of the character, he's just not that interesting. I have a hard time being interested in him myself. It has nothing to do with race or where he's from, he just doesn't interest me.

    • Sue 04/24/2013 at 11:04 am

      You aren’t interested in Black Panther because you probably know nothing about him — just like most weren’t interested in Iron Man until the movies showed how awesome he is.

      Black Panther is like Marvel’s version of Batman. He is brutal and strong but his key factor is how he primarily uses his mind to solve problems, concocting elaborate plans inside of plans and cleverly manipulating people. His plans and cool inventions really adds to the Avengers. Tony Stark is brilliant but he doesn’t plan well and he’s a bad leader.

      Trust, if you saw a Black Panther movie, you’d be a fan and you’d understand why people who know more about the character are so anxious to see him added to the cinematic universe.

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