5 Actors Who Could Play Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’

5 Actors Who Could Play Marvel's 'Black Panther'

For all their success so far, the Marvel movies have, aside from a few smallish parts, been a pretty lilywhite affair to date: only Samuel L. Jackson was a significant minority presence in “The Avengers.” But signs are that the studio aren’t going to keep that up for too long: yesterday, it was reported that the company are actively moving ahead with a movie about “Black Panther,” the African prince-turned-crimefighter, and are targeting a release in 2014 or 2015.

Marvel has denied the reports, but this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve denied something that turned out to be bang-on, and Latino Review’s track record with Marvel scoops is pretty strong, so it seems to be a good bet that there’ll be an official announcement about a “Black Panther” movie before too long. Which of course leads to the question: Who could play the character?

For the uninitiated, Black Panther is T’Challa, was the son of the chief of the Panther Tribe in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The leader dons the mantle of the panther as a symbol of office, but when his father, T’Chaka, is killed by the villain Ulysses Klaw, T’Challa grows up to become ruler, and soon becomes involved in the Marvel universe as a whole, often fighting alongside the Fantastic Four and, eventually, The Avengers.    

T’Challa is a genius-level intellect (with a Ph.D in physics from Oxford, no less), who’s also a powerful athlete, something heightened by special powers from a connection with the Wakandan Panther god, which gives him acute senses and superhuman speed and agility. It’s a great opportunity for a black actor to make the leap to A-list stardom, and we’ve picked out five strong contenders below. Do you have your own favorites? Let us know in the comment section.

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Why He Could Do It: The 34-year-old Ejiofor has been a presence in the movies since debuting in Steven Spielberg‘s “Amistad” fifteen years ago, and a leading man since Stephen Frears‘ “Dirty Pretty Things” a decade ago, but a major role in a Marvel movie would be sure to make him the A-lister that he’s long deserved to be. The actor has tentpole experience, thanks to “Salt” and “2012.” He’s proven his action chops in “Redbelt” and “Serenity” (the latter of which was helmed by Marvel’s darling Joss Whedon, which could well be an advantage). And he is, if you haven’t noticed, one of the best actors of his generation, something that should be hammered home when he leads an all-star cast in Steve McQueen‘s “Twelve Years A Slave,” in a role that stands an excellent chance of landing him an Oscar nomination.
Why He Might Not:  Taking the occasional paycheck gig is one thing, but signing up to the restrictive multi-film Marvel contract is another, whatever the benefits. Ejiofor’s proven reluctant to repeat himself in the past, hopping from stage to screen to TV, and being locked down until the end of the decade may be too high a price to pay. He’s also 34 years old, which if Marvel plan on telling T’Challa’s origin story, may be a touch on the older side.

John Boyega
Why He Could Do It: Having made one of the most impressive debuts of 2011 in Joe Cornish‘s “Attack The Block,” Boyega’s become a fan-favorite for the role in the last 24 hours. The actor left scorch marks on the screen in Joe Cornish‘s film as the 15-year-old mugger Moses, who discovers leadership and responsibility as his council estate is attacked by aliens, and the sheer charisma displayed swiftly got him Hollywood’s attention. Spike Lee cast him as the lead in his HBO pilot “Da Brick,” and while that wasn’t picked up, he’s been busy elsewhere and is currently shootingHalf Of A Yellow Sun,” co-starring Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose and Thandie Newton, in Nigeria. He’d be a pretty powerful choice for the character, for sure. And from his Twitter feed yesterday, it sounds like he wants the part
Why He Might Not: For one, he’s very young, only 20 years old, and usually playing younger. That might suit the story Marvel wants to tell, but he’s still nearly a decade shy of even his youngest potential “The Avengers” co-star. When “The Avengers 2” rolls around, would he be able to go toe-to-toe with Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo et al? “Attack The Block” was also principally a cult hit, and he’s still virtually unknown to wider audiences, and for a film like “Black Panther,” Marvel may want a more recognizable name.

David Oyelowo
Why He Could Do It: A near-contemporary of Ejiofor at drama school LAMDA, Oyelowo didn’t come out of the gates quite so immediately, at least as far as Hollywood casting directors were concerned, but he’s certainly on the rise. After breaking out in the U.K. as Henry VI on stage, and on TV in “Spooks” (or “M:I-5” in the U.S.), Oyelowo got a decent role (after false starts in “A Sound Of Thunder” and “Derailed“) as a key supporting part in “The Last King Of Scotland.” It was seemingly that performance that led Lee Daniels to cast him in the plum part of Martin Luther King in “Selma,” which certainly got his name out there, even if the film is still yet to happen. He was a part of two big hits last year, with supporting turns in “The Help” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and has even more on the way. He finally teamed with Daniels on “The Paperboy” and the upcoming The Butler,” plays Ira Clark in Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” and backs up Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher.” He’s only getting more and more famous, and getting to show more and more of his considerable acting skills, so he could be a strong choice.
Why He Might Not: As well as he’s been doing of late, George Lucas‘ “Red Tails” is his only real lead to date, and Marvel could be nervous about him carrying a film on his shoulders (although they shouldn’t be). Age might also be an issue as well. He’s 36, and would be pushing 40 by the time “Black Panther” hits theaters. Again, if we’re going to see T’Challa becoming the Black Panther after his father’s death, Oyelowo’s age may put him out of reach.

Anthony Mackie
Why He Could Do It: Mackie’s been walking away with scenes since “Half Nelson” half a decade ago, but since “The Hurt Locker” in 2009, the 32-year-old actor — like Ejiofor and Oyelowo, a stage veteran — has been virtually inescapable.  In the last year or so, he’s played key roles in “The Adjustment Bureau,” “What’s Your Number?,” “Real Steel,” “Ten Year” and “Man On A Ledge,” suggesting there’s virtually nothing he can’t do, and he’ll be just as busy in the coming year, with “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Gangster Squad,” Pain & Gain and Runner Runnerall on the way. It’s this summer’s double-bill of ‘Abe Lincoln’ and “Gangster Squad” that promises to give him a big lift, letting him show off his action skills, and hopefully exposing him to a wider audience than ever before. We can also seem him fitting in seamlessly with the rest of “The Avengers” ensemble (which includes his “Hurt Locker” co-star Jeremy Renner), probably more so than the other choices here.
Why He Might Not: All that being said, he’s fallen into something of a rut of sidekicks and FBI agents of late, and Marvel may be more comfortable with him in a supporting role than as a lead, although they’d be wrong. He’s also got a leaner, more angular look than the character is traditionally depicted with, though that’s probably not a deal-breaker if Marvel think he’s the right man for the job. He’s certainly got the range for the part, and the company could do a lot worse.

Chadwick Boseman
Why He Could Do It: Not a familiar face just yet, Boseman’s best known at this point for TV gigs on ABC Family‘s “Lincoln Heights” and NBC’s “Persons Unknown,” aside from a small part in sports biopic “The Express.” But that should change in the next year with Brian Helgeland choosing him to play the iconic role of Jackie Robinson in “42,” opposite Harrison Ford and Nicole Beharie. It’s the kind of part that could be a star-maker, if the film works, and he’ll certainly be on more casting lists from now on. He’s got a great look for the part, and from what we have seen of his TV work (“Fringe,” “Justified“), he’s a strong actor, with an athletic build. And with a side career as a playwright, he could easily sell the fierce intelligence that makes T’Challa one of the smartest people in the Marvel universe.
Why He Might Not: Well, he is still a virtual unknown — even more so than Chris Hemsworth was at the pre-“Thor” point of his career. And “42” doesn’t hit until next April, and given that they’re likely aiming for a 2014 release, the studio probably won’t want to wait to see if the film lands at the box office. And could playing a character as iconic as Robinson, particularly when you start as an unknown, hurt more than it could help? Sports biopics have never exactly been a road to stardom — just ask his “The Express” co-star Rob Brown.

Honorable Mentions: Even ruling out actors who’ve already cropped up in the Marvel movie universe (even if they would have been good choices) — Derek Luke, Idris Elba, Don Cheadle and Terrence Howard — there’s still plenty of strong choices out there. Michael Ealy’s hot off “Think Like A Man,” although like Omari Hardwick, he’s close to 40, so may be too old. “Chronicle” and “Friday Night Lights” star Michael B. Jordan‘s a better fit at 25, and he could be a very interesting call. Other younger actors who might work include Jesse Williams of “Cabin in the Woods,” Nate Parker from “Red Tails,” and Edi Gathegi from “X-Men First Class.”

Otherwise, British actor Noel Clarke is about to get a lot more exposure thanks to “Star Trek 2,” and Columbus Short has proven charismatic in the likes of “The Losers,” although he’s gone to TV for “Scandal” more recently. In terms of bigger names, Will Smith and Jamie Foxx are obvious ones, but they’re bound to be too expensive for the oft-thrifty Marvel, and are pretty much too old anyway. For more left-field choices, there’s Drake, who has plenty of acting experience thanks to “Degrassi,” while some have already mentioned Donald Glover, although we’d argue that the qualities that made him an interesting prospect for Peter Parker make him wrong for this role.
 

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Comments

Darren

Black panther can’t be white not trying to be racsist but he can’t black panther is from an African tribe and is the son of the tribes chief

Andrew

Checkout Rextheflexbaker for the role of black panther imdb.me/Rextheflexbaker

Jack Gordon

If I was to direct The Black Panther movie. I would pick Michael J white. Mostly because of his Martial Arts skills. In order to have an African American to play a Black Panther. He must have acrobatic skills/be able to jump/do all the stuff a martial artist can do. He also must be able to fight using wepons.And Mr. White has all those skills. He's also well built. Which I would say makes him the perfect chose for The Black Panther

Eljay

michael jai white should play the panther

Duane Hodgson

What about Michael jai White

John Hater

Well going with the current trend in Hollywood to completely screw up the long standing characters in film like making Annie black, or Johnny Storm from white to black, I think we need to make the Black Panther a white guy. I mean why not? It's only fair. Either that, the character should be thrown away, because nobody cares about Africans…American or otherwise!

Freddie

Although these are all great candidates and actors in their own rights but, here are the things that need to be considered about the Black Panther profile:

Strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, and agility of Olympic-levels. T'Challa is a rigorously trained gymnast and acrobat and is a master in various African martial arts as well as contemporary martial arts and fighting styles that belong to no known disciplines.
Let’s look at the candidates and who would be able to NATURALLY portray this role.
• David Oyelowo: M: I-5, A Sound Of Thunder", "Derailed" & "The Last King of Scotland. I don’t see STRONG natural athletic abilities.
• Anthony Mackie: Half Nelson", the Winter Soldier, the Hurt Locker", "The Adjustment Bureau," & Gangster Squad". Even though he was great in the The Winter Soldier, the gymnast and acrobat skills he doesn’t have.
• Chadwick Boseman: "Lincoln Heights", "Persons Unknown," "The Express." & Jackie Robinson in "42,". Again the gymnast and acrobat skills he doesn’t have.
• Michael Jai White: The Dark Knight (2008), Spawn (1997),Blood and Bone (2009), Arrow (2013) & Exit Wounds 2001. Michael Jai White has black belts in 7 styles of martial arts, was a teacher before he started acting, began his martial arts training at age eight.

Michael Jai White is the BEST choice…..Seasoned actor, NATURALLY fit to portray this role!

johnflo

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje , is the best pick for this role or at least another important role in this movie.

Please Marvel don't make this movie like a teenager movie, you did not make Bat man like that… it needs to be grand, powerful and raw,… Adewale is perfect for Black Panther!

isaac

I would be a perfect black panther i have dreads but i have skills in free running and could play the part!;

Andrew

Has anyone checked out that new actor Rexthe flexBaker he'd be great for the role , new up and coming and has the looks too.check him out on imdb facebook and twitter .

Andrew

Has anyone checked out that new actor Rexthe flexBaker he'd be great for the role , new up and coming and has the looks too.check him out on imdb facebook and twitter .

Ronald Galloway

I think Micheal Ja white should be the black panther, he fits the character more than the other guys…….

billz

Seriously how can they not offer that role to jai white..he has real martail art skills and is a good fit for the role..

Christopher Hayden

None of them could play black panther. Yah talking about why they should play black panther by them being none for movies. Black panther is athletic knows martial arts. Get somebody that can be athletiscand knows martial arts. Get Michael jai white to play black panther

Jose Garcia

Idris Elba and Michael Kai white would be the best choices

Champ

Drake? Oh no no no no no… oh no no no no no no… no no… no no no no!

Dean

Jamie Foxx is already Electro though

Carie

IDRIS ELBA Y'ALL!!! Stringer Bell would be and AWESOME Black Panther!

harry borthwick

the one guy who i think would be best suited to this would be Jamie Foxx and if he can pull of a serious Wakonda ( African accent ) he would relish this role and after watching him in Django he has that hero factor you only get with the best actors

dylan

I fell like Will Smith could pull it off, but i would definitely go with Djimon Hounsou. They should throw in Chris Rock &/or Eddie Murphy, not to play the Black Panther. All great action movies have comic relief characters.

Tevron

Djimon Hounsou.

Jane Smith

There's an amazing new actor called Elliot Knight, he played Sinbad in the UK series and would be amazing as Black Panther! Would be great to see a new face for a change.

Areff

Djimon Hounsou or Michael Jay White…. non else

Austin

I think Anthony Mackie could really do the job. he's charismatic and could be an action super hero. Also I think Tyrese Gibson would be a potential actor for that part. just a thought…

Daniel Miranda

None of those are good the best actor to play Black Panther is Djimon Hounsou He's THE BEST

Rob Wheeler

I think of the five mentioned in this article Chadwick Boseman is a good shout. My suggestion would be Taye Diggs.

Lisa Barrett

I think you guys should check out the guy from "A Medeas Christmas" Shannon Williams he played Bobby. He has the height, look and size.

Mike

None of these convince me, I'd like to see Michael Jai White as the Black Panther, he would really kick some ass.

Joshua Cox

Wakanda could be depicted realistically as one of many African nations exploited by U.S. foreign policy and corporations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLV9szEu9Ag

Lee

I think Mitchell Adams should play Black Panther. He has the looks, the height and the talent.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1957987/

Tyrone Murphy

What about Chris Tucker?

Phillip Hubbard

The article only mentioned 4 actors…… Anyway, Michael Jai White is T'Challa all day. The charisma, the athleticism, and the overall presence make the obvious best choice. But then again, Marvel never makes the "obvious best choice" which makes them so good at what they do. Who thought Robert Downey Jr. was the best choice to don the armor of Iron Man. With that being said, he was perfect for the role.

Temi

John Boyega!! He must take the lead now!!

Anthony

Djimon Hounsou 15 years ago (roughly around the same time as Gladiator) would be perfect. Also, he PLAYED Black Panther in the motion comic series. I say take a slightly riskier route: we know Marvel would need to do an origin story with their characters but what if it were a reminiscing sort of thing. Hounsou can still play a mid-30 year old (hey, ask Jeremy Renner. He's in his 40's) so what if John Boyega played a Young T'Challa, learning his role and embracing the mantle and then Djimon playing present day T'Challa, around 32-35 years old?

Sam J

I want idris alba to play him but otherwise Chadwick Boseman looks good as well.

Jomari Peterson

I like Chiwetel Ejiofor, but where is Michael Jai White?

GARY P

out of these five guys I would go with Chadwick Boseman, but if it were really up to me I would choose Aldis Hodge, he is 26 so he is young and has an athletic build, he could handle playing the role for years, and even for 26 he has a somewhat mature look to him and on one of the episodes of Leverage he did an African accent and I thought he pulled it off perfectly, the guy's got everything except for the star power

As for Mechad Brooks, I don't think he should play the Black panther, although I think he would make a great Falcon for the Captain America sequel

mike

Dr Dre

ivan

Terrance howard!!!!??

r.l

What about Shemar Moore?

Prym

How about Idris Elba

THE PHENOM

i think michael jai white could play the black panther he's fit for the role and well known. these guys that were picked nobody knows who they are

zenophon ellensworth

i think michael jai white could play black panther but who ever it is should be in good shape for the role and should be well known. these guys that were picked who knows who they are.

Connor

Three really stand out as big choices. John Boyega, Chadwick Boseman & Anthony Mackie. I would go with either Boyega or Boseman mainly because they are young and have star potential. Potentially they could be big blockbuster stars if their career goes right.

Alayaya

I would add Mehcad Brooks (from True Blood and USA's 'Necessary Roughness) to this list. Not such a great actor, but has an amazing athletic build. And has the boy to man look that would be good for the character.
Although, I do echo that having an actor with recent African roots would be most believable.

Stacy

Dayo Okeniyi from the hungar games he might not be well known but neither was chris hemsworth alot of the other actors are good and all but most either look old or are old i also think John Boyega could really pull it off plus it doesn't hurt that he's kinda like a young denzel, Michael B. Jordan would be a cool choice also he has a wide resume ultimately i think these guys are young fresh faces that given the opportunity could really make something of this role!

AliKat

I can't think of anyone better than Aldis Hodge for this part. On Leverage and other shows, he's posed as everything. He has an onscreen presence that is good for comedy or drama. I would love to see him interact with the Avengers someday! Not only is he a gorgeous man with a perfect body, but he is multi-talented with everything from stick-fighting to hockey. He's so versatile and has played everything from a gang member to a soldier to hacker who also grifts as everything from Saudi princes to African students to English business men all with spot-on accents. Next Marvel superhero? The Black Panther? He could totally rock that. :)

godzilla's foil

Has got to be a man, not a boy. And awe-inspiring, since he's a king. And with an authentic African look, not just "some black dude". Since Idris Elba is already taken by Thor (and it's a damn shame, actually) and Djimon Hounsou is way too old for the part. Adewale looks more like the bad, menacing guy than the hero, but he should fit the requisites. Other than that, this site's suggestions are mostly not good, sorry.

triguous

Rob Brown.

Joking11

Aldis Hodge, is a fabulous young but EXTREMELY talented actor. He co-stars on TNT's Leverage and has been in numerous other projects. He has great screen presence and has "grifted" as everything from a conspiracy nut to a Middle East Prince on Leverage. Marvel should definitely be looking at him.

Robert

More important is their voice and demeanor. They need to be able to pull of the effortlessly 'Kingly' attitude. T'challa was always a king first, and a hero second.

Julia

ALDIS HODGE?

Da5ID

Well, it's obious: Rupert Everett. But you must change the name and call him THE PINK PANTHER!

MWAH-HAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah

They should hire Jesse Williams: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2222264/

The Wisest One

Kevin Hart would be a really bold choice that would be perfect. I think he can pull it off

cineman

EJIOFOR all the way – those big soulful eyes make him a superstar hero in waiting

patrickswagze

Idris is out since he was already in Thor! But I think DeRek Luke would a sound choice and Michael Jai white should have some role in it!

anna

what about Aldis Hodge? hes proven to be a scene stealer in Leverage.

TheUniverse

I watched the The Avengers and it was FREAKING AWESOME! I like them all but the Hulk/Bruce Banner STANDOUT among the rest. Mark Ruffalo did an AMAZING job and he gave JUSTICE to Hulk/Bruce Banner compared to the other 2 Hulk movies. Marvel and Disney made an EXCELLENT decision for giving the role to Mark Ruffalo. We NEED a new Hulk movie of Mark Ruffalo! WE NEED MORE!

BoB

Here's I think would rock in the lead role as Black Panther.

1) John Boyega: He's the perfect age, can act, has the action chops, and has the ambition to make it big because he's young so he would be proving himself, and cause it's such an important role. Does BP graduate early in the comics? If so, even better.

2) Anthony Mackie: From what I have seen he's a great actor. I also think he has the right body type, maybe bulk up a tiny little bit. Plus his age is also pretty perfect for the role.

3) Chiwetel Ejiofor: He's a great actor no doubt. If you have seen his movies, and seen how he looks you can tell he's pretty much perfect for the role. One bad thing is his age, he might look to old for the part.

Djimon Hounsou should play Black Panthers father, T'Chaka. There's no doubt about this part imho. Does anyone disagree? He'd be the about the right age, can definitely act, and would be way to old for Panther himself. Though he could be Panther in the beginning you know, then he gets killed.

Dj

michael b jordan is sooo the best fit plus i think it's time hollywood tries to find the the next denzel plus michael was thte heartof chronicle my second choice would be john boyega or even the guy who played thresh from hungar games dayo okeniyi he'd be really good

Lee

Chiwetel Ejiofor or Anthony Mackie please, the world needs to know them more!

Kevin

Quit naming half white actors for this part. There were a few on the list.

BRITTANY

Dayo Okeniyi

Karl

I hope this movie turns out well/succeeds box-office wise.

The hand wringing if it fails will be pretty uncomfortable.

CinematicESP

Don't forget about Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who mentioned wanting the role a while back.

Indeed

Will Smith should play the a very dark character as the black panther and it needs to be as violent as PG13 can get!…The studios will crush it if they can recruit Will.

Ibonix

Drake, Michael Ealy, and Terrance Howard would make horrible choices seeing they're not dark enough. I mean come on, this is Africa we're talking about. Derek Luke and Idris Elba would both be Great. Maybe even Columbus Short. Djimon Hounsou is my favorite pick and Michael J. White but they're both too old.

Huffy

Wow, Michael Jai White, Black Dynamite himself doesn't even get an honorable mention? Fiendish Oliver Lyttelton, you done fucked up now!

Mark

Why not cast Djimon Hounsou, he is African after all, he's physcially capable of playing the part of T'Challa and is a brilliant actor.

Victoria Janssen

In the animated Marvel Knights miniseries of Black Panther, Djimon Hounsou does his voice.

It has a great cast overall: http://ow.ly/boYoS

peaceseeker

I would love to see Chiwetel tackle this. This would not be a one-dimensional, safe, run-a-the-mill hero type performance with him. He's so intense in all of the roles he plays — the spark, fire, versatility this character needs would not be lacking in a Chiwetel Ejiofor performance. Believe that! For me he's definitely the best choice.

jaxom catt

Andre 3000 would kick a** !!

Zack

My vote is for Oyelowo, largely because it pisses me off that Hollywood refuses to cast African actors as African characters. I know he's not a big name at this point, but Marvel's become kind of a starmaker lately. I mean, before their respective movies, Hemsworth was known for killing one scene in one movie, Evans was a relatively established presence, but it wasn't as though anything in his record indicated he could open a movie, and even Robert Downey Jr. was way more of a respected ac-tor type than a star. Anything that gives him a boost (and being minor but highly noticeable in two big hits last year probably helped with that too) is fine by me.

eowyn

As much as I want a Dr. Strange Movie I will have soooo much RESPECT on Marvel if this will push through. Solo Movie, ASAP!

PRESIDENT MAO

Brad Pitt!

I'm utterly serious. If Idris Elba can be Heimdal and Michael Clarke Duncan was Kingpin THEN there's no fucking reason Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling can be Black Panther. Why are you looking at me like I am crazy? What are you? A racist?

Ben

How about Donald Glover?

Christopher M.

I usually love this site's casting suggestions, this one is no exception… great actors here, my vote goes to Anthony Mackie and David Oyelowo…Marvel Studios' films might have issues but their casting is mostly on the money.. Derek Luke had some of my moments in Captain America..if they hire someone half as good as him we'll be getting one unique superhero film for sure!

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