Diversity. It has become a buzzword in the comic-book movie industry, as fans clamor for more female roles, more African-American heroes, and more outside-the-box thinking that could lead to mystical films like Doctor Strange. And wouldn’t you know, comic book pioneer Stan "The Man" Lee proves to be at the head of that charge, exploring a project that will open up his massive influence to a huge portion of the global community.
Back in 2011, Stan Lee helped launch the Indian superhero Chakra the Invincible. After developing a number of stories around the hero, THR reports that Lee’s POW Entertainment and Graphic India are joining forces for a film version of the property. This would be a live-action version, casting potentially huge names from the Bollywood film industry. Lee said in a statement:
We’ve set up some great meetings already with some of the most amazingly talented actors and directors in Indian cinema and I have no doubt that these individuals will help make the Chakra film a massive hit in India and around the globe."
Chakra’s secret identity is that of Raju Rai, a technology genius who lives in Mumbai. THR describes his origin as such: "Determined to use science to unlock the secrets of human potential, Raju develops a technically-enhanced suit that activates the mystical Chakras of the body, unleashing newfound abilities and powers." The movie would center on an older version of Chakra, and would pit him against his arch-nemesis, Boss Yama.
This isn’t the first attempt at bringing Chakra to life on screen. In 2013, Cartoon Network India aired a one-hour animated special Chakra: The Invincible, which drew from the Chakra comics. You can get a sense of the character’s powers, and his bravey, in this preview clip.
I love this news, particularly in the wake of having just caught up with Disney’s Million Dollar Arm, which found a down-on-his-luck sports agent looking for the next best baseball prospects in India. This concept is different, obviously, but born from the same intentions. Stan Lee (and his corporate advisors) understands that there’s a huge, untapped market in India. Creating a hero that speaks directly to that crowd is smart. Developing a film project – and potential franchise – off of that character is a no-brainer. THR says that Chakra hopes to begin pre-production in 2015, and begin shooting either in late ’15 or early 2016.