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Marvel’s Black Panther is back in development, Heat Vision reports, with the studio hiring documentary writer Mark Bailey to pen the adaptation.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Black Panther debuted in July 1966’s Fantastic Four #52. The king of the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa has been a member of the Avengers and the star of four ongoing series — most recently Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, in which he becomes the new protector of Hell’s Kitchen — but his move toward the big screen has been long stalled.
Talk of a Black Panther movie began as early as 1992, when Wesley Snipes announced interest in portraying the character in an Indiana Jones-style franchise. Development bogged down first at Columbia Pictures and then at Artisan Entertainment, all the while with Snipes still attached (as recently as 2002). But in 2005 Marvel reacquired the Black Panther license from Lionsgate, which bought Artisan two years earlier.
In 2009 the character was named among the lesser-known properties for which Marvel was reportedly hiring screenwriters to develop in creative (and less-expensive) ways.
As Heat Vision notes, Bailey, with his background in documentaries, is an unusual choice for Black Panther. He wrote the 2003 HBO documentary Pandemic: Facing AIDS, and worked as story editor on 2007’s Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and A Boy’s Life.