During its up front presentation to advertisers in New York Thursday, BET announced that it has given the green light to a new original animated series based on the first major black superhero. The cable outlet is working with Marvel Comics to bring viewers The Black Panther. The show is slated to begin airing during the first quarter of 2009.
The Black Panther is a wise and just African warrior king who struggles to balance progress with tradition as he conceals his identity and employs technology to combat the forces of evil from his base in the fictional kingdom of Wakanda. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Black Panther first appeared in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four and eventually joined other famous Marvel characters in the superhero conglomerate known as the Avengers. Most recently, the character was seen in animated form as a central character is Marvel’s direct-to-DVD feature film Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Black Panther.
There have been attempts to make a live-action feature based on the masked crimefighter. In the early 1990s, Actor Wesley Snipes announced his intention to play the lead for Columbia Pictures. The project gestated too long and Snipes decided instead to take on the role of Marvel’s Blade, doing a series of three films as the vampire half-breed. Marvel then announced in 2007 that a Black Panther film is part of its slate of independently financed and produced theatrical features, which kicks off with the March 2 release of Iron Man and continues with The Incredible Hulk and Punisher: War Zone. John Singleton (Boyz in the Hood) has reportedly been approached to direct.