Will Marvel’s Next Standalone Hero Be Black Panther?

In the wake of releasing the third-biggest movie of all time in The Avengers, Marvel Studios’ easiest decision has been giving new standalone films to Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, but what about new heroes? We know the studio has been working with writers on Dr. Strange and Ant-Man films as well as The Runaways and Guardians of the Galaxy among others, but Latino Review believes Black Panther is next in line.

The site has heard from four different sources that T’Challa, the Black Panther/leader of Wakanda and comics’ first black superhero, will get to headline his own film soon. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stated just last month that two unannounced projects are in the works, which Latino Review believes are The Avengers 2 and The Black Panther.

Marvel hired frequent HBO documentary writer Mark Bailey to work on a Black Panther treatment in January 2011 and Black Panther creator Stan Lee has indicated he believes Marvel has been working on it.

At the same time, we know that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is, according to Feige, “closer than ever” and a script focused on Dr. Strange has already been written.

Latino Review points out two easter eggs that may or may not be indicative of Marvel pursuing a Black Panther film. In Iron Man 2, Wakanda appears on a map, and Captain America’s shield is made of Vibranium, which comes from Wakanda. It also doesn’t hurt that he was a member of The Avengers back in the day.

The site also mentions that T’Challa has a strong following in urban demographics including with African-Americans and Latinos. Appealing to that wider market would be a smart move by the studio to say the least.

As for when we might see The Black Panther, Marvel has May 16, 2014 as a release date for an unidentified project. Given that the first weekend in May (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Memorial Day weekend (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) tend to be for the bigger films of the month, a smaller project makes sense in that date.

Expect to find out what movie that will be (Black Panther or not) sometime this summer as studios try to loosely plan out 2014.