As the awards season has clicked through the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Film & TV Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the annual ramp up to the Academy Awards already has identified the winners from the 2018 season of film.
One clear across-the-board honoree has been “Black Panther”, a work that has been acknowledged not just for its brilliance in traditional judging categories but for Disney’s choice to use mainstream, big-screen tools to tell the story of a superhero … and to tell that tale with an almost entirely black cast.
The success of that initiative – and the public embrace of an entirely new kind of narrative – is grounded in the kind of deep, cross-channel marketing only Disney could bring in support of what truly is an extraordinary production.
Marvel Studios, a wholly owned division of The Walt Disney Co., kicked off what has become a series of interconnected movies with the release of “Iron Man” in 2008. Different characters and moments from its superhero stable were then relayed across numerous different movies over the next ten years. And Black Panther was a breakout character who made his onscreen debut in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016.