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.
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