Please. Please stop, Marvel. It’s too much. This cast is just too damn good. There’s no way Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther can live up to the expectations set by its call sheet alone… or can it? The next actress to make us lose our collective mind in sheer anticipation, if recent cast addition Sterling K. Brown is to be believed, is none other than the iconic Phylicia Rashad, a.k.a Clair Huxtable of The Cosby Show and Mary Anne Creed in Coogler’s own Creed.
It isn’t even fair at this point.
Brown seemed to confirm her involvement in an interview with The Undefeated when asked about being part of the most anticipated film of 2018:
I just worked with Chad on a film called Marshall, about Thurgood Marshall. He’s such a talented human being and a deep soul. He’s the perfect personality to fully inhabit T’Challa. So, to rejoin him, and to work with Academy Award winners… to be with Michael B. Jordan after the incredible work he’s done in Creed. Danai Gurira, Phylicia Rashad, Forest Whitaker — like, it’s embarrassing.
I feel you, Sterling. I feel you.
It’s worth noting that there’s been no official word (i.e. from anyone at Marvel) about Rashad’s involvement, and that since the interview was published, her name has been retracted from the transcript. It now reads:
So, to rejoin him, and to work with Academy Award winners… to be with Michael B. Jordan after the incredible work he’s done in Creed. Danai Gurira… Forest Whitaker — like, it’s embarrassing.
[We got the original transcript from MCU Exchange]
The Undefeated doesn’t appear to have offered any other updates or corrections to the story or any reasons for the retraction, so it’s likely that Brown let slip a bit of info he shouldn’t have and the Marvel snipers went ahead and took aim. Is it possible he was mistaken? Technically, I suppose, the same way it’s “possible” that Black Panther isn’t a real movie, but an Argo-type scheme to rescue Tom Hiddleston from South Sudan, but Rashad’s involvement would hardly be surprising given the caliber of the cast at hand and the responsibility on the film’s shoulders to be a new landmark for black actors in the mainstream. She was, after all, dubbed "the mother of the African-American community" by the NAACP.
This isn’t just cool because the film has big-name black talent to an unprecedented degree (don’t get me wrong, that is VERY cool), but also because no other mainstream film has had a cast with these many exciting actors in quite some time, regardless of race. The two are not mutually exclusive, of course. Again, you’ve got *deep breath* Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Sterling K. Brown, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Florence Kasumba, Daniel Kaluuya and Winston Duke, and those are just the folks we know about.
Okay, fine, I’ll mention Martin Freeman before people jump down my throat again (Serkis hasn’t officially been confirmed, so don’t start with that). Freeman doesn’t need a shout out from me when IMDb’s algorithm inadvertently places him above any of the black actors in the cast, but that’s a discussion for another day.
In any case, if Rashad really is joining Michael B. Jordan on Black Panther, she also follows Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok), Wood Harris (Ant-Man) and Sylvester Stallone (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) as the fifth castmember of Creed to make the jump MCU. That's pretty cool, as well.
Any thoughts on who Rashad might play? Black Panther arrives February 16th, 2018. We’ll update you as we learn more.