Stan Lee wanted Wesley Snipes for Black Panther

Snipes almost landed the lead role
Snipes almost landed the lead role

We can’t wait to see Ryan Coogler’s take on Marvel’s Black Panther. It’s a movie which feels like it’s been a very long time coming.

But if we’re impatient to see the film, it’s nothing compared to how Wesley Snipes must feel – he’s been waiting since the ‘90s, when he was attached to star.

“Black Panther spoke to me because he was noble, and he was the antithesis of the stereotypes presented and portrayed about Africans, African history and the great kingdoms of Africa,” Snipes told The Hollywood Reporter. “It had cultural significance, social significance. It was something that the black community and the white community hadn’t seen before.”

Unsurprisingly, the project had Stan Lee’s approval (“He was supportive of the Black Panther project at the time,” Snipes says) and it does make us wonder what could have been.

But perhaps it’s for the best the project didn’t get off the ground. Snipes recalls meeting with director John Singleton about the adaptation, and being surprised by his take on it.

“I laid on him my vision of the film being closer to what you see now: the whole world of Africa being a hidden, highly technically advanced society, cloaked by a force field, Vibranium,” Snipes said. “John was like, ‘Nah! Hah! Hah! See, he’s got the spirit of the Black Panther, but he is trying to get his son to join the [civil rights activist] organization. And he and his son have a problem, and they have some strife because he is trying to be politically correct and his son wants to be a knucklehead.’ ”

“I am loosely paraphrasing our conversation. But ultimately, John wanted to take the character and put him in the civil rights movement. 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.”

Seeing as that’s what we’re about to get, we imagine Snipes will be first in the queue when Black Panther‘s released in the next couple of weeks. He might even go in cosplay.

“Actually, I figured it would be a leotard,” Snipes said about his potential costume in the ‘90s film. “A leotard with maybe some little cat ears on it. I would have to be in shape and just be straight bodied up. I never imagined anything more than a leotard at the time, which I didn’t have a problem with because I started out as a dancer.”

But don’t expect Snipes to appear in a MCU movie any time soon. “I am very much open to all of the possibilities,” Snipes says. “If Blade 4 comes along, that is a conversation we can have. And there are other characters in the Marvel universe that, if they want to invite me to play around with, I am with that too. I think the fans have a hunger for me to revision the Blade character, so that could limit where they could place me as another character in that universe.”

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