So, yeah, the Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther movie has smashed just about every record there is. Not only did it earn back its hefty $200 million dollar budget on opening weekend, Forbes reports that it has grossed more than $700 million globally. In only two weeks! This firmly places the film among the top five biggest openings of all time. A list which includes two Star Wars films and Jurassic World, both of which had the distinct advantage of building up momentum by being a part of multiple movie franchises. Now, we’re sure at least a few bigwigs in Hollywood are re-considering the power of the Black dollar and the universal marketability of casts of color…when the proper investments are made. That said, we put together a list of Black superheroes who’d make dollars, and sense, for the next blockbuster, big budget superhero film.
1. STORM. This iconic member of the X-Men who can control the weather has been played on the big screen by Halle Berry and, more recently, Alexandra Shipp. Given the fact that Storm was actually married to Black Panther in the lore of the Marvel Universe, it makes sense that Storm might get a solo movie. While, so far, she has only appeared in X-Men movies, a spin-off could explain how she and T’Challa (Black Panther) became childhood sweethearts as well as create lots of drama between her and Lupita Nyong’o’s Black Panther character, Nakia, who T’Challa is currently soft on. Storm was first introduced in 1975.
2. BLADE. Most famously played by Wesley Snipes, Blade has already headlined a movie trilogy, with it’s last installment released in 2004. After that, Sticky Fingaz, of the hip-hop group Onyx, reprised the role for a TV series on Spike. Since Snipes is finally out of jail for tax evasion, we’d love to see him in an updated Blade movie. He’s definitely overdue for a win. And, like Star Wars and Jurassic World, the Blade property already has a following. FYI, Blade is a half-vampire, half-human, vampire hunter who was first spotted in a Dracula comic in 1973.
3. SPAWN. One of the more recently created Black superheroes, Spawn was introduced in 1992. More anti-hero than hero, Spawn is a CIA hitman who, upon his death, sells his soul to the devil for a chance to see his wife again. The catch? He has to steal souls for the devil. Yikes. Played by Michael Jai White in a live-action adaptation in 1997, Spawn is reportedly the first major motion picture starring a Black man as a superhero. The feature film had a $40 million budget and racked in $87 million. Spawn has also been turned into an HBO animated series, as voiced by veteran actor Keith David. A reboot is already reportedly in the works.
4. LUKE CAGE. Hot off the huge popularity of his eponymous Netflix show, Luke Cage has heat. Played by Mike Colter who grabbed the world’s attention as Bishop (a tycoon drug dealer on The Good Wife), Luke Cage set the internet on fire with the very Blackness of the Netflix show. By the way, Luke Cage’s superhero name is actually Power Man and he was first unveiled in 1972. His power is his strength, plus the fact that his body is almost impervious to any damage.
5. WAR MACHINE. Tony Stark’s Iron Man is a billion-dollar brand on its own, but execs are definitely leaving money on the table by not exploring other superheroes in the franchise. Stark’s buddy, Commander James Rhodes, eventually becomes the champion known as War Machine by donning one of Stark’s early Iron Man suits. War Machine was first introduced in 1979 and has been played by Don Cheadle several times in the Iron Man film franchise, making for an easy segue to a stand-alone film. And there are already some ideas in the work. Black Panther co-writer, Joe Robert Cole, shared he’s written a script for the character.
6. CYBORG. Speaking of armor, there is another metal hero we should know about: Cyborg. Cyborg was played by Ray Fisher in the 2017 film Justice League. We’ll get to see more of Cyborg soon since a new Justice League film is set for 2020. Andrew Heyeh will be playing the role in the new film and, in the interim, he’ll also be playing Cyborg in a couple of short films. First seen in 1980, Cyborg is a genius level half-man, half-cyborg who was created by his father’s incessant experiments on him.
7. NICK FURY. If you know the Avengers, then you know that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s one-eyed ex-soldier, badass Nick Fury has most recently been played by Samuel L. Jackson. S.H.I.E.L.D., which is the topic of a current TV show on ABC (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, although it has had several different meanings since it was first created in 1965. Nick Fury was not originally Black and was previously played on-screen by David Hasselhoff. Today, however, the character is firmly imprinted by Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal in several movies.