Long before Black Panther became the Academy Award winning box office blockbuster, actor Wesley Snipes had the rights for the project before shelving it in favour of 1998 film Blade.
Black Panther, which was subsequently created by Marvel Studios and directed by Ryan Coogler, went on to win three of the seven Oscars it was nominated for and scooped well over $1.3 billion at box office worldwide and became the ninth highest grossing film of all time.
The iconic cultural phenomenon is a tale of ‘oh what could have been’ for Snipes who decided to work with Stephen Norrington and play the role of Blade in a separate Marvel project.
“I had the rights to Black Panther maybe four or five years before the Blade project came around,” Snipes told reporter Kevin McCarthey while promoting his latest film Dolemite Is My Name.
“When Blade came around, since we didn’t do Black Panther, our version of it, I thought, ‘Well, this would be a cool opportunity for me to do something for truly my friends. All the martial arts cats, all the cats that love Shaft, and all the cats that ever wanted to be a vampire and bite a chick on the neck.’”
Pressed on what was different about his version, Snipes replied: “At that time, we didn’t actually have the technology, but we would have done all the Vibranium. All the x-ray vision and virtual operation and the whole nine of it.
“I wanted it to be like the comic book was [with a] super city and super science.”