Now that Marvel has its own movie studio, it’s time for the House of Ideas to try out some fresh ones on the big screen. Sure, we all know the Iron Man and Thor sequels will make a billion dollars, but Marvel needs to think long term and use this opportunity to branch out.
Black Panther has never ranked in readership with Marvel’s flagship titles, but the movie-going audience is more diverse. A superhero film featuring a strong black cast could bring in a whole new audience to comic book movies. And the hardcore fans will always be along for the ride so long as the movie stays true to the source material.
Of course, in order to do that, the studio has to nail the casting.
ALDIS HODGE as T’CHALLA
As hacker Hardison on TNT’s Leverage, Hodge does it all: accents, fighting, even climbing. But most importantly, the young actor deftly displays an intelligence seldom seen in action heroes. This is a crucial component for representing the genius-level intellect of the nascent Black Panther, who fights smart AND hard.
EAMONN WALKER as T’CHAKA
My long-time first choice for Black Panther, Walker (Oz, Unbreakable) is now in his fifties, sadly too old for the role of the young new hero finding his feet. But his ability to deliver both the gravitas of a king and the prowess of a warrior make him a perfect choice for T’Challa’s father and predecessor.
ERICA TAZEL as SHURI
Justified‘s Erica Tazel brings such strength and charisma to her supporting role as rookie marshal Brooks that I’d love to see her take the lead some time. Tazel could get people excited in the same way for T’Challa’s kid sister to one day don the cape and claws.
JURGEN PROCHNOW as ULYSSES KLAW
The man who took the most from T’Challa, former Nazi scientist Klaw is a must for a Black Panther movie. Prochnow (Das Boot, Air Force One) brings a steely, cold-eyed resolve to his villains that makes him intimidating even when physically outmatched.
ADEWALE AKINNUOYE-AGBAJE as ERIK KILLMONGER
The Panther’s physically superior nemesis will make a worthy adversary for an action-packed finale. Akinnuoye-Agbaje (LOST) has a fierceness matched only by his imposing physical presence; both could make even the toughest hero into an underdog.
DOUG JONES as VENOMM
Doug Jones (Hellboy 2, Pan’s Labyrinth) is no stranger to acting in masks, a requisite skill considering the prosthetics necessary to play the deformed snake charmer.
As always, that’s just one fan’s opinion. Let me know what YOU think!