Wesley Snipes had a vision for the hero in the '90s
Wesley Snipes has spoken out about how he nearly made a Black Panther movie back in the ’90s, but the plans fell through.
Having already received rave reviews, the comic book adaptation hits cinemas on February 12.
Chadwick Boseman stars as King T’Challa, the beleaguered leader of fictional kingdom Wakanda. However, it seems that the role came close to falling upon Wesley Snipes. The Blade star first intended to create a Black Panther movie in 1992, longing to bring a black comic book hero to the big screen. Various developments featuring studios and even Stan Lee took place throughout the ’90s.
“I think Black Panther spoke to me because he was noble, and he was the antithesis of the stereotypes presented and portrayed about Africans, African history and the great kingdoms of Africa,” snipes told The Hollywood Reporter. “It had cultural significance, social significance. It was something that the black community and the white community hadn’t seen before.
“Many people don’t know that there were fantastic, glorious periods of African empires and African royalty — Mansa Musa [emperor of the West African Mali Empire] and some of the wealthiest men in the world compared to the wealth of today. That was always very, very attractive. And I loved the idea of the advanced technology. I thought that was very forward thinking.”
Speaking of the enduring culturing significance of Black Panther, Snipes continued: “Black Panther is an iconic character who much of the world was unfamiliar with and the communities that I grew up in would love. Look, from the days of William Marshall playing Blacula in the 1970s black flicks and the fervor you found inside the black and Hispanic communities, it never crossed my mind that the audience wouldn’t be down with it.”
Snipes also revealed that Boyz N The Hood director John Singleton was also considered to helm the movie, and they had many discussions about how Black Panther would have been portrayed. Snipes for one, wanted the character to wear cat ears and a leotard.
“I laid on him my vision of the film being closer to what you see now: the whole world of Africa being a hidden, highly technically advanced society, cloaked by a force field, Vibranium.”
He continued: “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. And I’m like, ‘Dude! Where’s the toys?! They are highly technically advanced, and it will be fantastic to see Africa in this light opposed to how Africa is typically portrayed.’ I wanted to see the glory and the beautiful Africa. The jewel Africa.”
On the subject of how his vision never came into fruition, Snipes added: “Ultimately, we couldn’t find the right combination of script and director and, also at the time, we were so far ahead of the game in the thinking, the technology wasn’t there to do what they had already created in the comic book.”
Fans have since taken to Twitter to share their opinion of what Snipes Black Panther would have been like:
Black Panther has received great critical acclaim – with one critic dubbing it as ‘the best MCU movie’.