The director experienced many hardships while trying to get the project off the ground.
In the 1990s, Wesley Snipes was riding a wave of commercial success with his particularly prolific resume of films throughout the decade. This lead the actor down one pretty ambitious path, to create a cinematic adaptation of the Black Panther comic book series.
However, 20-plus years ago, the landscape of cinema was quite different. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Snipes details the hardships he experienced while trying to pitch, produce, and execute this passion project of his.
Snipes initially took on the project because of the characters and contextual themes presented in the comic book. Snipes reveals how "Black Panther spoke to me because he was noble, and he was the antithesis of the stereotypes presented and portrayed about Africans, African history and the great kingdoms of Africa," adding how the story had ""cultural significance, social significance. It was something that the black community and the white community hadn’t seen before."
Marvel had approached Snipes and his manager Doug Robertson to help them produce a movie version of the beloved comic book series. Snipes gleefully accepted as a chance to manifest his favourite superhero on screen, while also being able to show Africa in a positive and beautiful manner.
Snipes revealed the first roadblock in producing the film was convincing studio executives that the film was not based on the radical Black Panther group from the 1960s. Secondly, finalizing a script and choosing a director was a strenuous effort, noting how one filmmaker "wanted to take the character and put him in the civil rights movement," much to Snipes' disapproval.
Snipes then reveals how "ultimately, we couldn’t find the right combination of script and director and, also at the time, we were so far ahead of the game in the thinking, the technology wasn’t there to do what they had already created in the comic book." noting how the relatively underdeveloped CGI technologies at the time would have hindered the film's scope and vision.
Moving on from this experience, Snipes was able to take essential character traits from T'Challa and apply it to his work in the Blade film.