When Marvel announced their slate of films a few years back, they announced that the third Captain America film would be Captain America: Serpent Society, only later to be revealed that it was actually Captain America: Civil War. Marvel had a few more surprises up there sleeve, and fans were delighted when it was announced that Spider-Man would officially be joining the MCU, and that Black Panther would be making his debut as well, as a stepping stone in getting his own solo movie.
The casting of Spider-Man was long and drawn out. Asa Butterfield seemed like the front runner for a while until Tom Holland won the job. But Chadwick Boseman was the only name we ever heard for the MCU version of the character. Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, explains that Boseman was the only choice:
“We were working on the story and we needed another character. Our executive producer suggested T’Challa. The minute we started talking about Black Panther, we brought up Chadwick. He really was the only actor we discussed. We had seen the Jackie Robinson role [in “42”] and “Get On Up” was coming up. We were very impressed by how different James Brown and Jackie Robinson are, and how he could sort of do anything. I think it was 24 hours between saying his name in a creative story meeting and talking to his agent and getting on a phone with him and offering him the role of Black Panther, which he accepted. He was in Zurich on a press tour for “Get On Up,” which makes the story even more far-flung and global and James Bond-like.”
T’Challa was the breakout star of Civil War and the wait for his own movie has seemed like forever. The eagle-eyed viewers of the MCU will notice that there has been references to his story for a long time though, and that was on purpose. Feige always knew that they wanted to do a Black Panther film someday.
“We always knew it was the manifest destiny of Marvel Studios to bring to life all facets of the Marvel universe. At the end of ‘Iron Man 2,’ when Nick Fury is discussing for the first time the Avengers initiative with Tony Stark, he’s brought him to this secret shield warehouse. One of the maps prominently displayed is a map of Africa with a little pinpoint to where Wakanda is. In ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ we talked about Vibranium for the first time and Bruce Banner mispronounces Wakanda. We’ve been feeding it through the films, knowing if we had the opportunity to keep making films, Panther was high on the list. It was his inclusion in ‘Civil War’ that sped it up.”
Because of the need for another character in Civil War, all of these other things fell into place. Sometimes restrictions are blessings – if Marvel Studios had access to the X-Men or the Fantastic Four, T’Challa may have never been considered for Civil War; and if that were so, Boseman’s take on the character might not have ever been seen, especially not in this time frame. I’ve been excited for the Black Panther movie since his appearance in Civil War, and we don’t have long to wait now.