How Samuel L. Jackson Feels About Black Panther's Impact On Hollywood

Nick Fury Samuel L. Jackson

The runaway success of Black Panther is viewed by many as a huge moment in cinema for its representation of black actors on screen. Samuel L. Jackson has his own opinion on what Black Panther means in the big picture. Ultimately, Jackson isn't sure that Black Panther is going to change a lot of minds by itself, as action movies like Panther are inherently popular across demographics. Instead, he feels a barrier will truly be broken when more dramatic stories about black characters aren't seen as different from others. According to Jackson...

I'm not positive that Black Panther is going to change the dynamic of black stories being told in Hollywood and being accepted all over the world. It's an action-adventure story and a lot of people like those, and they'll work all over the world forever because everybody loves a hero. But not everybody loves a drama about somebody's life experience -- that's why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognized in the same category, we'll be laying markers.

It's certainly true that everybody likes a hero, and these days everybody loves superheroes. Black Panther's success was not, in general, all that shocking. Although it has to be said that the degree of success was. Black Panther's domestic box office isn't just a case of "people like action movies" there is clearly more to the story than that.

Having said that, Samuel L. Jackson's broader point to Matt Pomroy, that Black Panther was sure to have an easier time than a drama about somebody's life experience, is well taken. We probably aren't going to see a lot of new dramatic films about black people simply because of Black Panther's success. Though we might see more action movies led by black actors, which is something. Jackson seems to feel that the way we categorize films, in general, could use work, as it has a tendency to make us look at movies based on their differences rather than their similarities. Instead, good movies should just be viewed as good movies, without worrying about how else they can be defined, and that's the endgame.

Black Panther may not change everything about cinema by itself, but it certainly feels like a step in the right direction. It has likely created new fans for actors like Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright, and maybe those fans will go see those actors in non-superhero roles in the future because they went to see Black Panther and decided they liked that actor. There is clearly work to be done, but maybe we're on the right track.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.