How much does Stan "The Man" Lee know about Marvel’s pending film slate? I mean, Stan Lee IS Marvel. Without him, there would be no Cinematic Universe, no characters on which to base these amazing Marvel films that audiences are flocking to (in record-setting fashion). But is the 91-year-old comic-book legend up to date on all of Marvel’s moving pieces? Because if he is, then he just confirmed a Black Panther movie.
Stan Lee was speaking at the Fan Expo Canada on Friday (via Comic Book Resources), and let it slip that the Black Panther movie indeed was happening (instead of being this juicy rumor that no one at Marvel will confirm just yet). When addressing the question of whether or not Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character soon will get her own solo movie, Lee explained:
"The chances are she will have her own movie because eventually all the superheroes are going to have their own movies. They are already working on Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and the Black Panther, and there are others I am not allowed to talk about."
Oh Stan, you tease. Let’s talk about his comments. Obviously, we know all about Ant-Man. After a director shuffle, that movie recently began filming in San Francisco with Peyton Reed at the helm, and a cast that includes Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly (to name just a few).
The other two titles that Stan Lee dropped, however, are eye-catching… if only because Marvel hasn’t solidified anything on its Cinematic Universe schedule beyond Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015), Captain America 3 (May 6, 2016) and James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (July 28, 2017). There has been a lot of movement surrounding Doctor Strange. Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil) has been tapped to helm the movie, with Jon Spaihts hired to work on the screenplay. There have been rumors that Strange will land in the July 8, 2016 date circled by Marvel, but nothing has been announced… and likely won’t until Marvel locks up its leading man for Doctor Strange.
What about Black Panther? Does Stan Lee know for sure that Black Panther is next? It’s highly likely that he’s at least aware of the characters that are capable of carrying their own film, and are part of Marvel’s Phase Three. We have been hearing that the menacing Ultron will have to travel to Black Panther’s home land of Wakanda to pick up valuable resources in Joss Whedon’s sequel. But it’s unclear if an actor will have been cast to play the hero T’Challa in a Marvel movie for this potential cameo. Get On Up and 42 standout Chadwick Boseman has dropped hints that he’d like to play the character on screen, but has he met with Marvel? Right now, it’s all a big smoke screen.
Stan Lee’s comments piqued our interests. Given the expanding slate of the Marvel universe, there has been so much speculation. Will Ms. Marvel finally get a movie? Will Black Widow or Hawkeye graduate to starring status? Could a player from the burgeoning Marvel/Netflix universe leap to the big screen? Based on what Lee has said, Black Panther is coming sooner than the rest, and one more of Marvel’s vacant release slots will be filled before we know it.