NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Actor Djimon Hounsou has signed on to lend his voice to the superhero the Black Panther in an animated series, BET Networks and Marvel Animation said.
The show is slated to premiere in 2009 and will be adapted directly from the first six issues of the Marvel Comic written by Reginald Hudlin.
"BET is thrilled to have Djimon Hounsou join us as the voice of the Black Panther," Denys Cowan, senior vice president of animation for BET Networks, said in a statement. "He is a talented, compelling actor who will be the perfect voice for such an important superhero in the Marvel universe and such a moment in this historic environment."
"Having Djimon Hounsou voice the lead character in this new series speaks to the power of the character and the partnership between BET and Marvel Animation," added Eric Rollman, president of Marvel Animation. "The Black Panther animated series is Marvel's entree into prime-time animation and Djimon raises the bar for all involved as we bring the best in the animation business together to execute on that vision."
"It's a blessing for African-Americans and minorities to have a superhero they can identify with," said Hounsou, who was born in the African nation of Benin. "While the Black Panther is a powerful force for good, he is also a respected world leader who takes pride in his African heritage. He embodies the past and future of his culture, demonstrating the endless possibilities of an Africa that is truly free."
Hounsou is best known for his work in "Amistad," Gladiator," "In America" and "Blood Diamond."