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A Major 'Black Panther' Character Was Inspired by Chandler From 'Friends'

Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. In this case, part of the Marvel Universe was inspired by one of the quirky regulars of the Central Perk, Chandler Bing, of the immortal TV sitcom Friends.

In a Vulture profile on Marvel and DC comics writer Christopher Priest, the author (and former bus driver and Colorado pastor) revealed that he was inspired to create the character Everett K. Ross — played by Martin Freeman in the upcoming film Black Panther — after watching Matthew Perry as Chandler in the Friends episode “The One with the Blackout.”

In the early 2000s, Priest returned to Marvel after years in exile and was offered the opportunity to write the relaunch of Black Panther as part of the experimental (and successful) Marvel Knights imprint. Priest told Vulture he was “horrified” by the prospect. “I stopped being a writer, or being thought of as a writer,” he says, “and started being thought of as a black writer.”

Priest came up with an idea for Black Panther: Introduce a white character inspired by debatably the whitest sitcom in history, Friends.

In the seventh episode of the first season, a blackout caused by events in Mad About You (confirming the shared continuity of the NBC Sitcom Universe) descends all of Manhattan into darkness. Separated from the rest of his, well, friends, Chandler is stuck inside an ATM vestibule with a beautiful woman. Despite his bravado and success as an investment banker, Chandler finds himself tongue-tied and clumsy. It was this, plus Perry’s performance, that Priest thought was needed in Black Panther. Thus Priest introduced Everett K. Ross, a “hopelessly overwhelmed white man,” writes Vulture.

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Matthew Perry's performance as Chandler in "The One With the Blackout" inspired Christopher Priest to introduce Everett K. Ross into his 'Black Panther' comics.

This isn’t a huge revelation, as Priest previously wrote about Chandler and Everett Ross in an online blog in 2001. In talking about the episode, Priest says Chandler “was the horrified fish out of water when caught up in the machinery of his friends’ complex personal lives.” He found Chandler not unlike Matthew Perry’s other major role at the time: opposite Salma Hayek in the rom-com Fools Rush In, “where he plays a brilliant corporate developer who is nonetheless The White Boob around Salma Hayek’s Latino community.”

From Christopher Priest's 'Black Panther.'

Continued Priest:

“I asked [Marvel editors] Joe [Quesada] and Jimmy [Palmiotti], ‘What if we put that guy- Chandler Bing-into the series?’ He could be the motormouth, he could give voice to the skeptical readers and validate their doubts and fears about the series. And, best of all, he could amplify the Panther’s mystery and overall enigma as his monologues would be, at best, a guess about Panther’s whereabouts and motives.”

Martin Freeman stars as Everett K. Ross in Marvel's 'Black Panther.'

While many Marvel fans may already know about Chandler Bing’s legacy in the Marvel Universe, the undying popularity of Friends (all ten seasons are available to stream on Netflix) and the sky-high excitement for Black Panther make this a solid, periodic reminder. Who knew that watching Friends would be required viewing before February 16?

Marvel’s Black Panther will hit theaters on February 16.

Media via Netflix, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment, Warner Bros.

'The Umbrella Academy' Season 2 Needs to Answer This Mystery About Ben

Netflix introduced your next superhero obsession with one of its latest original series, The Umbrella Academy, but there’s a major mystery surrounding one of its main characters. What happened to Ben/The Horror? Not even the original comics hold the answer, but Umbrella Academy Season 2 might.

Spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Season 1 below.

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The superheroes of The Umbrella Academy have work to do to save the world.

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Netflix March 2019: Here's What's New and What's Leaving

Steve Holt!

After an exciting February filled with dragons, superheroes, and Groundhog Day nightmares, Netflix will keep the momentum going in March 2019 with new shows, movies, and the return of a few popular original series. Of course, there’s also some old favorites leaving the streaming service that you may want to watch before the end of the month.

Where to Find the Secret Battle Star in 'Fortnite' Season 7, Week 9

You'll have to look in Santa's sleigh.

There’s a new secret Snowfall loading screen for Fortnite: Battle Royale’s Season 7 Week 7, and it sends players hunting for a secret battle star in Santa’s sleigh — sort of.

Week 9 began Thursday morning, and for anyone looking to hunt down the secrets from this week’s Snowfall loading screen, we’ve got all the information right here, including a video guide from YouTuber garandhero. (Be sure to check out his YouTube page for even more Fortnite videos).