Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther managed to catch its own cultural zeitgeist and became something of a phenomenon. Opinions vary on how much was truly deserved, as in the cold light of day it’s about in the middle of the rankings of Marvel output in the last 11 years. Yet it became a cultural and critical darling and made Marvel a lot of money.
Way back before this happened, another actor wanted to play the character so badly he even secured the rights. Wesley Snipes!
That never came to fruition. However, Snipes did go on to star in 1998’s Blade. That movie, arguably, kick-started the entire superhero movie renaissance that we have been enjoying for over 20 years.
Getting great notices for his role in Dolemite Is My Name, Snipes was asked about the project:
“I had the rights to Black Panther maybe four or five years before the Blade project came around. When Blade came around, since we didn’t do Black Panther, our version of it, I thought, ‘Well, this would be a cool opportunity for me to do something for truly my friends. All the martial arts cats, all the cats that love Shaft, and all the cats that ever wanted to be a vampire and bite a chick on the neck.’
At that time [mid-90s], we didn’t actually have the technology [to do Black Panther], but we would have done all the Vibranium. All the x-ray vision and virtual operation and the whole nine of it. I wanted it to be like the comic book was [with a] super city and super science.”
$1.3 billion at the global box office and some Oscar nominations later, and we are getting a sequel to the Chadwick Boseman version. But we can’t help but imagine what a Snipes version would have been.
According to the Wall Street Journal writing has started on the sequel, due out in May 2022.