Black Panther may very well be one of Marvel’s highest grossing movies yet (raking in well over $1 billion for the studio), but according to Disney CEO Bob Iger, it very nearly wasn’t made.
In his new book The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger revealed there was initially resistance to Black Panther and 2019’s Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson.
While Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had offered support, an unnamed New York executive for Marvel said they were reluctant to make Black Panther because, according to them, characters played by black actors underperformed in the international market.
It was Iger himself that pushed forward and saw both films put into production.
“I’ve been in the business long enough to have heard every old argument in the book, and I’ve learned that old arguments are just that: old, and out of step with where the world is and where it should be,” he wrote in his memoirs.
Brie Larson stars in Captain Marvel (Marvel Studios)
“We had a chance to make a great movie and to showcase an underrepresented segment of America, and those goals were not mutually exclusive.”
He added that he contacted those at Marvel opposed to the films to “stop putting up roadblocks”, which eventually saw both movies put into production.
It’s a move that paid off for Marvel, with Black Panther the only film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
The discussion is thought to have come before the well-publicised Marvel split which separated Marvel between movies (overseen by Feige) and everything else (run from the Marvel offices in New York).
Elsewhere in Marvel news, Feige is now heading to a galaxy far, far away to work with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to develop a new Star Wars film.
“We are excited about the projects Kathy and the Lucasfilm team are working on, not only in terms of Star Wars but also Indiana Jones and reaching into other parts of the company including Children of Blood and Bone with Emma Watts and Fox,” Disney co-chairman Alan Horn told The Hollywood Reporter.
“With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.”