After ‘Black Panther,’ Now Is the Time for a Storm Movie
‘Black Panther’ has proved to be a cultural phenomenon—thanks in large part to its strong black women. So why can’t Marvel give perhaps its most popular black superheroine her due?
There’s a moment in Black Panther where Angela Bassett removes her headdress revealing white dreads and I gasped. The Queen mother of Wakanda looked not only regal and powerful, but she also looked like the woman I’d always imagined Storm would grow into—a true depiction of the Marvel Comics’ weather maven who has led the X-Men and ruled Wakanda alongside her once-husband T’Challa.
Maybe Hollywood was never truly ready for Storm until Black Panther. A white wig slapped on Halle Berry and dialogue like, “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?” was never going to shake the earth. An attempt to reboot Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse was similarly bankrupt, despite Alexandra Shipp’s likability, as the character barely had any lines. Each attempt to bring arguably Marvel Comics’ most popular female character to the big screen has been one disaster after another.
Sure, we could’ve had an exciting Storm film reminiscent of the fantastic Blade franchise—particularly Blade II, directed by Guillermo del Toro, who brought the same kind of visual flair and depth of storytelling that Marvel has displayed in films like Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Thor: Ragnarok.
As great as some of the earlier X-Men films could be, looking back on them now, they were woefully inadequate in their treatment of Storm. Bryan Singer’s films never seemed able to explore social commentary beyond the tenuous “being a mutant is like being gay” metaphor he continued to double down on, and do we really believe that Fox was going to hire a black woman to mold Storm as she truly deserved to be? Back in the 2000s? None of the major film franchises, from Marvel to DC to Lucasfilm, have managed to do that now…and it’s 2018. When Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time is still a first, you know that the industry has been ill-equipped to handle a goddess like Storm. God forbid we end up with another iteration of Berry’s horrendous Catwoman film.
The creator Storm deserves in her debut film should care as much about her African-American identity as they do her mutant powers. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther feels like a revelation because it’s not Hollywood’s usual depiction of black people—it depicts black Americans, black Africans, black people of different skin tones, black people who are heroes and villains and fathers and mothers and lovers and warriors. It is a film interested in the identities of African-Americans, what separates black Americans from black Africans, and what also brings us together. Storm is the daughter of N’Dare, a Kenyan tribal princess, and David Munroe, an American photographer. Many of the themes brought up during the conflict between T’Challa and Killmonger would have to be revisited in a Storm film.
Meanwhile, we’ve yet to have a Storm film announced, while films for Captain Marvel and Black Widow and Kitty Pryde march on, but with the release of Black Panther it’s not merely necessary for Marvel to greenlight a Storm film, it would be insane for them not to. Black Panther has become a global phenomenon at this point, and the film exhibits such beautiful, nuanced portrayals of black women that it would be disheartening to see those black women relegated to the sidelines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
To be fair, the Fox-Disney merger has not yet closed, and it seems like if Marvel were to make a Storm film, it would be a Disney enterprise. No one wants Storm hanging out in whatever current state the X-Men films are in right now. She deserves to roam the African continent with her brothers and sisters in Black Panther. She deserves to prove that she is capable of running a team in an Avengers film. She deserves the care that Kevin Feige has shown to films like Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther by letting directors Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler put every ounce of their souls and culture into their film projects, despite them being part of a sprawling franchise.
Storm deserves the best. The men who tried to give us to her before weren’t ready for her greatness, but her future looks bright.