Alex Abad-Santos looks at Black Panther’s incredible success — widespread critical acclaim and a $1.3 billion worldwide box office — and considers how it might affect future Marvel movies.
[T]he bigger picture might be that Captain Marvel and Black Panther could give Marvel the incentive to focus not on just black superheroes from Wakanda or female superhero space captains, but on heroes — She-Hulk’s criminal defense lawyer by day, or the campy silliness of Namor, Prince of Atlantis — who wouldn’t otherwise have their stories told. We might also see studios that own Marvel characters’ film rights, like Sony and Fox, tell more of those stories; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which centers on a new biracial Spider-Man named Miles Morales, comes out this week.
Historically, there’s been a lack of diversity in Marvel films when it comes to who’s getting solo movies and who gets to lead teams that save the world. But there’s also a rich tapestry of stories in the comics, stories that are every bit as good or even better as the ones onscreen today, that Marvel hasn’t delved into yet.
Black Panther showed Marvel and the industry that there’s an appetite for superhero stories that don’t necessarily fit the traditional idea of what heroes look like or where they come from. And the more movies featuring different kinds of heroes, or even villains, that get made, the more incentive there is for Marvel to take chances with stories it hasn’t yet told. The Marvel Cinematic Universe and its fans could both benefit.
A Black Panther sequel is already in the works, with director Ryan Coogler back behind the camera. And Captain Marvel arrives in theatres March 8, setting the stage for Avengers: Endgame.