If you still don’t know Sterling K. Brown’s name, you best catch up. The breakout actor is fresh off a stellar year on television. He won his first Emmy for his much-praised turn as Christopher Darden on American Crime Story: The People v. O.J Simpson, then followed with a standout role on NBC’s critically acclaimed This Is Us. As we head further into the new year, his star is only rising: News broke on Thursday that Sterling K. Brown has joined Marvel’s Black Panther, marking a major step for his flourishing career.
To be clear, this won’t be his first role on the big screen. His first credited movie part was in 2002’s Brown Sugar, and he’s gone on to appear in titles like Our Idiot Brother (2011) and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016). But based on the hype surrounding Black Panther, it could very well be his buzziest film role yet. The project will be the first Marvel Studios flick to feature a black super hero as its protagonist, and a bevy of heavyweight stars have already signed on. Among Brown’s castmates are Michael B. Jordan, Lupita N’yongo, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Danai Gurira. Ryan Coogler, who’s earned high praise for his work on Fruitvale Station and Creed, is directing.
Though Black Panther has been in development for nearly two years, little information has been revealed about the film, save for some casting updates. Chadwick Boseman will play the titular warrior-king, reprising his role from Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Bassett will take on his mother, Ramonda. Brown will portray N’Jobu, a figure from T’Challa aka Black Panther’s past. As Deadline noted, the character, at least by name, isn’t part of the established comic’s canon, so details about what direction the part will take are spare.
Black Panther isn’t set for release until Feb. 16, 2018, so it will be some time before we see Brown bring N’Jobu to life. In the meantime, he’ll also appear as Joseph Spell in the upcoming Marshall, a biographical thriller about the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. It reportedly hits theaters sometime this year, and (bonus!) also features Boseman.
After such a celebrated 2016, it’s thrilling to know that Brown’s career is only getting stronger. Here's to hoping his place in Black Panther will take him to new heights.