Black Panther is still weeks away, but it’s already breaking records. The Ryan Coogler-directed superhero film was the “best-selling Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in terms of presales after its first 24 hours,” and it’s on pace for a $100-$120 million opening weekend. The reviews have been superb, too.
Black Panther will be Chadwick Boseman’s second appearance as the Wakandan king, after making a memorable debut in Captain America: Civil War, but this wasn’t supposed to be the first Black Panther film. Wesley Snipes, coming off his hot streak of New Jack City, Jungle Fever, White Men Can’t Jump, and Demolition Man, tried to have one made in the 1990s, but he ran into roadblock after roadblock. Chief among them: no, it’s not that Black Panther.
The initial struggle, as Snipes explains, was explaining to the uninitiated that he was trying to make a movie about the comic book superhero Black Panther, not the 1960s Civil Rights revolutionaries. “They think you want to come out with a black beret and clothing and then there’s a movie,” he says, sounding exhausted. (Via)
Columbia was still interested, though, so the next step was to find a director. Boyz n the Hood‘s John Singleton was contacted, but his idea was not exactly what Snipes was looking for. “John was like, ‘Nah! Hah! Hah! See, he’s got the spirit of the Black Panther, but he is trying to get his son to join the [civil rights activist] organization. And he and his son have a problem, and they have some strife because he is trying to be politically correct and his son wants to be a knucklehead.’ “I am loosely paraphrasing our conversation. But ultimately, John wanted to take the character and put him in the Civil Rights movement.”
Eventually, the project fizzled, but some good came out of it.
But, [Snipes] didn’t dwell on the missed opportunity. Rather, he took what he learned from the experience and applied it to his next superhero project: Blade. “It was a natural progression and a readjustment,” Snipes says. “They both (Black Panther and Blade) had nobility. They both were fighters. So, I thought hey, we can’t do the King of Wakanda and the Vibranium and the hidden kingdom in Africa, let’s do a black vampire,” he says, laughing. (Via)
And now we have a black vampire and, finally, a Black Panther.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)