Djimon Hounsou To Voice 'Black Panther' In BET Animated Series

'Black Panther'Djimon Hounsou, the award-winning actor who played prominent roles in "Blood Diamond" and "Gladiator," will soon be lending his voice to one of Marvel's most prominent heroes: Black Panther. Variety reports that Hounsou has agreed to provide the voice of T'Challa, king of the technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda in the Marvel Universe, in the upcoming animated series produced by Marvel Animation and set to air in early 2009 on BET.

The animated series will be based on a 2005 story arc from the "Black Panther" comics, scripted by former BET Networks president Reginald Hudlin, featuring a reimagining of sorts of the character's origin that placed him among the select few Marvel characters to stand toe-to-toe with Captain America.

Black Panther made his debut in a 1966 issue of "Fantastic Four," and has fought villains as both a solo act and as a member of various superhero teams over the years -- including a recent stint with his wife, Storm of the X-Men, substituting for Reed and Sue Richards on the Fantastic Four. Marvel recently announced that the "Black Panther" print series will be relaunching in February 2009 with a new, female hero donning the Black Panther costume.

According to Marvel Animation rep Eric Rollman, "'The Black Panther' is Marvel's entrée into prime-time animation, and Djimon raises the bar for all involved as we bring the best in the animation business together to execute that vision."

What do you think about the upcoming "Black Panther" series, folks? Is it long past due for such a prominent character, or are there other characters you'd prefer to see animated? Did you read Hudlin's work on the series? Sound off in the comments!