Looking at the incredible ensemble featured in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, you quickly notice the impressive representation of the comic canon. The Marvel hero has had many very important characters play key roles in his books over the years, and the truly vital ones are all soon coming to the big screen. It's an impressive list, but as I learned from Coogler earlier today, the movie considered one more notable name for the roster: Elijah Bradley a.k.a. Patriot. Said the director,
Crazy enough, for comic book fans, we toyed with the character Patriot for a little bit. Early on we were interested to get our hands on him, Joe [Robert Cole] and I, but that ended up going away so we could focus on Wakanda a little more.
For those unfamiliar with the character, Patriot was first created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung for the 2005 series Young Avengers, and was introduced as the descendent of Isaiah Bradley -- one of only a few soldiers to survive horrific super soldier experiments during World War II (a Marvel parallel to the real-life Tuskegee experiments). He's a great character with many fantastic twists in his arc, but he also has zero association with Wakanda or Black Panther, which explains why Ryan Coogler ultimately decided not to include him in the Black Panther movie.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ryan Coogler at the Los Angeles press day for Black Panther earlier this afternoon, and part of our discussion was dedicated to the ensemble put together in the Marvel blockbuster. After noting that Patriot was heavily considered for a part in the movie, the filmmaker went on to explain that while that didn't work out, basically every other major character in the movie was included from the very first draft. Said Coogler,
Patriot didn't make the cut for Black Panther and isn't quite ready to make his big screen debut -- but it wouldn't be altogether surprising if his moment came sooner rather than later. The Young Avengers comic started in the wake of the crossover event Avengers Disassembled, and considering the turmoil that is set to go down in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in both The Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, it's possible that Patriot and the rest of the Young Avengers could be adapted in live-action for the first time in the franchise's Phase 4.
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I had the pleasure of not only talking to Ryan Coogler today, but also Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, and Winston Duke -- and there is plenty more interview goodness to come. Stay tuned for a whole lot of Black Panther coverage here on CinemaBlend in the coming weeks, and look for the film in theaters on February 16th.