It’s official! Creed helmer Ryan Coogler will direct Black Panther. After months of rumors of his involvement, Marvel officially confirmed today that Coogler will direct Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa in the iconic hero’s first solo film after his highly-anticipated introduction in Captain America: Civil War.
Coogler, who previously earned festival success with his devastating drama Fruitvale Station, is currently riding high on the massive success of Creed — a critical and commercial success alike that not only rebooted the stagnant Rocky franchise with gusto, but landed Sylvester Stallone a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. Coogler also recently took home the LA Film Critics award for Best Director.
In an official release, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige commented,
“We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family…The talents Ryan showcased in his first two films easily made him our top choice to direct ‘Black Panther.’ Many fans have waited a long time to see Black Panther in his own film, and with Ryan we know we’ve found the perfect director to bring T’Challa’s story to life.”
While this is great news for Marvel, it’s an unfortunate turn for Warner Bros. and MGM, who will have to seek out a new director for the planned Creed sequel. Earlier today, we reported that the Creed sequel is eyeing a November 2017 release — a date that will most likely prohibit Coogler from returning for the sequel given that Black Panther is slated for a February 18, 2018 release.
Earlier this year, Selma director Ava DuVerna was in talks with Marvel to direct Black Panther before amicably parting ways with the studio when they couldn’t agree on an approach to the film. Shortly after, DuVernay candidly explained that she backed out when she realized Black Panther “really wasn’t going to be an Ava DuVernay film.” With a major studio project like Creed under his belt, Coogler no doubt has experience navigating the compromises of helming a massive scale passion project, so hopefully he can accommodate Marvel’s needs while still making a “Ryan Coogler film”. The fact that he was reportedly in discussions with the studio since October indicates that they took their time making sure it was the right fit — a very good sign, indeed.
What do you guys think? Are you glad the rumors were true? Or were you holding out hope for a different director? Sound off in the comments below.