Friday, February 22, 2019 5:09 pm
As we approach the one-year anniversary of its release, it’s fair to say that Marvel’s “Black Panther” became something of a phenomenon. It earned over $1.3 billion at the box office, built a whole fantasy world within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and established beyond a shadow of a doubt that a film with an almost entirely black cast could be every bit the blockbuster an “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” or “Thor” could be. This month, it will even make history as the first Marvel film to be up for Hollywood’s top prize, the Best Picture award at the Oscars.
“Black Panther” is not expected to actually win this award, but even being in the running is an incredible achievement for a superhero movie (not even the universally beloved “The Dark Knight” got quite this far). But the really exciting thing to think about is that this movie really only represented the beginning of what is set to be a series within the MCU. So now, even as it vies for Best Picture at the Oscars, we have to wonder how the world of “Black Panther” can get even bigger and better.
The first and most important step on the horizon is for Marvel to absolutely nail the sequel. At this point, we don’t actually know too much about what will happen next in the “Black Panther” world, not least because “Avengers: Endgame” will probably reveal the true fate of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa character and others from this world within the universe. Villain possibilities and returning cast members are up in the air, and we certainly can’t guess as to what the plot for the second movie will be. What we do know however is that Ryan Coogler is handling the script. Given that Coogler wrote and directed the first one, and is widely viewed as one of the true breakthrough Hollywood talents of the last few years, this is a good first step toward a sequel that can elevate “Black Panther” even higher.
Aside from the sequel, a “Black Panther”-based video game would also go a long way toward making this all an even bigger phenomenon. In this realm though, Marvel’s options appear to be dwindling. The company seems to have largely stopped producing in the mobile arena, save to update some bigger Marvel games like “Future Fight” and “Contest Of Champions.” And despite the fact that modern casino sites are putting forth better games and moving toward virtual reality, promising a bright future, Marvel actually pulled its licensed gaming content from this whole genre. What’s left is console gaming, and while there’s no word of a “Black Panther” game here, we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Marvel is putting more money and effort into real video games, and $1.3 billion-plus at the box office would certainly seem to simply there’s a massive population of people who would love an open world adventure “Black Panther” game for console play.
Lastly, and probably most demanding, is the potential for a theme park. To date, we actually haven’t seen Disney and Marvel build any theme parks – or really even any noteworthy rides – around the MCU properties. However, reports in 2018 indicated that some such parks may be in the works, specifically inspired by “The Avengers,” “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and “Ant-Man.” Those could all be plenty of fun, but if this is something Disney’s going to be doing it’s hard not to get excited about the idea of a park that can bring the fantastic land of Wakanda to life. Being able to visit Wakanda could potentially become as exciting for fans as visiting the “Harry Potter” theme park, which seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Suffice it to say, as much of a sensation as “Black Panther” has been for a year now, there are ways for it to get even bigger. There’s a chance we’re only at the beginning of a pretty incredible ride