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Christopher Priest Returns to Black Panther

Christopher Priest is returning to write Black Panther...for one story only. In Black Panther Annual #1, famous Black Panther writers Don McGregor, Christopher Priest, and Reginald Hudlin return to write three new stories about T’Challa, Wakanda, and...Everett K. Ross.

Newsarama has a great interview with Priest right here about returning to write Black Panther and Everett K. Ross.

Newsarama: Priest, your Black Panther Annual #1 story features Everett K. Ross. What’s it like revisiting him?

Christopher Priest: Like dropping in on your cousin Kenny, whom you haven’t seen in a bunch of years. Past the hugs at the door, you don’t know what to say. “So... how’s it goin’?”

My Black Panther run really wasn’t about Black Panther. It was about Ross. It was about exploding myths about black superheroes, black characters and black people, targeted specifically at a white male-dominated retailer base. I wanted Ross to be the voice of the skeptical fan who, for years, kind of took this character for granted - the guy in the black suit standing in the back of the Avengers class photo. I was nervous about writing the character in the first place unless I could reimagine him as more capable and more dangerous; a guy who more than earns his seat at the table. I needed Ross to help guide the reader along that transition.

Okay, so skip ahead 20 years and now the current fanbase has no idea what I’m talking about. Most current Panther fans only know him as this technological savant and incredibly capable (if manipulative) protagonist. Few, if any, remember the years where Panther was taken completely for granted, or the Marvel Knights launch where fans all but picketed Central Park South in protest because I gave Panther an iPhone. It’s hard to remember that - a broad range of fans literally outraged that we made Panther’s costume bullet-proof and gave him a Kimoyo Card. “How daaaare you?!?!”

So, what do we do with Ross, now? How does Ross serve a series in this context where he no longer represents fan expectations? That was a tough question for me. Ultimately, I told myself, “Eh, it’s just eight pages,” and just had fun with it.


There’s also a question about if he would return to Black Panther proper:

Nrama: This is a small story, but could you see yourself doing more Black Panther stories down the line?

Priest: No. [Laughs] No, no, no. I sent T’Challa into outer space once. Black Panther In Outer Space. That’s jump-the-shark territory, dude. No, T’Challa belongs to a new generation of brilliant writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’m a fan.


As well as a great response to what he wants from the Black Panther movie:

Priest: The film looks utterly amazing. I was on the Wakanda location with Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o, and the scale here is amazing. This will likely be the biggest film with a majority-black cast ever made - and it’s a superhero movie!! One (hopefully, please, please) with my name somewhere in the thousands of credits. It’s just, thus far, I’ve seen no humor in it. I have to believe there must be some, I mean, why hire Freeman, for one example. But I hope the film does not take itself so seriously or preach so hard that it alienates or divides rather than does what is essential for the film, the character, and, frankly, a politically polarized America.

We, America, have to move past the ideology - the tribalism that grips this country. As ridiculous as this sounds, I believe Black Panther, the film, could help us do that if it addresses issues of tribal polarization and, by extension, racism, xenophobia and homophobia in an entertaining, non-preachy way. I told Kevin Feige on set, “Look a’here: you have to understand this is so much more than just the next Marvel superhero movie. Not just Panther fans - All of Black America is watching you on this thing. Don’t blow it.” Somewhere, in all of that amazing, glorious eye candy, there’s got to be a joke. Martin: we’re counting on you. Oh, gosh, please be funny.

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