Wesley Snipes then and now has been popular with the role of the Blade icon in the superhero movie series. However, he had a long time to pursue his dream of becoming a Black Panther.
The disadvantage of being different
In late 1991, the Marvel comic company approached Wesley Snipes for the movie version of Black Panther. At that time, the actor had just been popular from the role of Nino Brown in the criminal crime work New Jack City (1991). He also appeared in some notable titles such as Major League (1989) and MV Bad (1987) of Michael Jackson.
Sharing with The Hollywood Reporter, Wesley Snipes recalled: “I didn’t spend much time thinking. Black Panther is a powerful figure, and the series goes against what Hollywood often depicts Africa on screen. I believe that the character and the movie would be something that both white and colored audiences have never seen on the screen before. ”
But it seemed that only Wesley Snipes realized the opportunity coming from the iconic superhero character Black Panther. It made him pursue the project for nearly a long decade. “There are kingdoms or golden times in Africa. It can be recreated through Wakanda. Advanced technology in the original work is also what makes me wait,” the actor said.
However, after meeting director John Singleton to make a film honoring Africa, Snipes eventually received “a cold water bucket” because the filmmaker gave a very different perspective on the project.
“Singleton wanted to make the character a symbol of the movement for equal rights for people of color. Will technology toys appear? Not sure. While I just want to see a prosperous, beautiful, and vibrant Africa on screen,” Snipes recalled in a somewhat disappointed voice.
Another difficulty that Wesley Snipes and colleagues encountered when trying to bring Black Panther to the big screen was that the superhero had the same name as a political party of black people in America. Although it had been out of operation since 1982, the unfortunate thing was that it was born around the same time as the Marvel original. The comic book itself had repeatedly stated that it was a coincidence in the past. But perhaps this gave filmmakers like John Singleton a different perspective on Black Panther.
Around the same time, Marvel comic-based movies like The Punisher (1989), Captain America (1990), and Fantastic Four (1994) were so bad that they could not find their way to the theater in America. This made Wesley Snipes and his Black Panther project often encounter the reject from investors.
Becoming the vampire hunter Blade
No matter how much he loved the Black Panther, Wesley Snipes still needed to continue his career. He continued working with Marvel comic studio. He then started another project Blade (1998).
Comparing the two characters, the actor stated: “They are both noble warriors. So I thought that if I couldn’t become King Wakanda, then I would be a black vampire.”
$ 131 million gross of Blade was an impressive figure for an R-rated movie (restricting audiences under 17) at the time. At that time, Marvel was struggling with financial difficulties. And the success of the movie was a solution creating a springboard for future success.
There were Blade II (2002) and Blade: Trinity (2004) with sales of $ 155 million and $ 128.9 million, respectively. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that Marvel Studios was able to launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 partly thanks to the success of the Blade series with Wesley Snipes.
But the dream of becoming T’Challa / Black Panther also shattered for Snipes due to age issues. In 2014, when the actor was 51 years old, Marvel Studios announced they would make a separate film about a black superhero with Chadwick Boseman (37 years old). The Wakanda kingdom would appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron for the first time (2015).
Wesley Snipes said: “Although I was not participating in the MCU project, I fully support it. This will be a movie of change, opening up new opportunities in Hollywood. The public needs multiethnic works like Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman is young but he was very talented. I hope he knows how to seize the once in a lifetime opportunity.”
With Wesley Snipes, he still has a lot of enthusiasm for the superhero movie line. “If someone wants to be Blade 4, I will listen. And there are many other black characters in the Marvel comics besides Black Panther. If Marvel Studios wants me to join it, I’m ready too.”