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Wesley Snipes Explains How His Failed Black Panther Movie Changed Superhero History

black panther

Given the buzz currently surrounding Black Panther, it’s hard to believe it took this long for the comic—created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in 1966—to reach the big screen. However, as Wesley Snipes recently told The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel and the actor made a serious attempt to make a Black Panther movie back in the mid-’90s. At one point, Snipes approached John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) to direct, but he found that their perspectives were too far apart.

Explaining that his own vision was closer in spirit of Ryan Coogler’s 2018 adaptation, Snipes elaborated on Singleton’s more socially conscious take. “John wanted to take the character and put him in the civil rights movement,” Snipes said. “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.”

Unfortunately, the limitations of ’90s special effects and Marvel’s finances (the company declared bankruptcy in 1996) caused the project to stall, but this set in motion a chain of events that made the 2018 adaptation possible. When Black Panther didn’t come together, Snipes decided to make Blade, the superhero success that indirectly launched the Marvel Studios we know today. “Marvel was going through a liquidation and there were concerns that the whole company might fold,” he explained. “It is my understanding that film was a catalyst to its resurgence and the empire we see now.”

While Wesley Snipes’s Black Panther never made it to the screen, the 2018 version arrives in theatres on February 16. Check out the trailer below.