‘Black Panther’: Marvel Confirms ‘Creed’s’ Ryan Coogler Will Direct

Ryan Coogler will direct Black Panther. Marvel’s fan favorite superhero will get his own movie in 2018. Black Panther’s Marvel comics were a landmark. He was the first black superpowered hero in mainstream American comics. He wasn’t the first black Marvel character, but he was notable for being the first major black hero with superhuman abilities.

Ryan Coogler had a tremendous year after directing the Rocky franchise spinoff movie, Creed. The movie managed to keep Sylvester Stallone’s legendary character alive, while at the same time creating a new icon. That phenomenal movie likely piqued Marvel’s interest and led to the current job. Black Panther is only the third feature film for Coogler, and it’s his largest undertaking so far.

Black Panther was originally set for a 2017 release, but Marvel pushed the date back after reacquiring the rights to Spider-Man, and wanting to put his solo movie reboot out first. Expect to see Black Panther‘s solo film on screens by July 6, 2018. But you won’t have to wait that long to see him in movies, as he was sighted hounding Captain America and the Winter Soldier in trailers for Captain America: Civil War.

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has stated the importance of the environment of Wakanda in the solo film. Wakanda is the fictional African nation that Black Panther’s father, and then Black Panther himself, rules over. Expect an African ambiance that is rarely explored in American movies to permeate Black Panther. Marvel is setting out for a dignified look at Africa. Previous movies like Black Hawk Down, Last King of Scotland, and Hotel Rwanda have given a war-torn, dictatorial picture of the continent.

Marvel felt it important to give this movie authenticity by seeking out black directors. Screen Rant reports that after her success directing Selma won her much acclaim, director Ava DuVernay declined Marvel’s offer to direct Black Panther, stating that the story wasn’t a good fit. But that was before the world got to see Ryan Coogler’s Creed. The authenticity and energy of that movie really makes you wonder how awesome a Ryan Coogler Marvel movie could be.

This is the second time Coogler has been presented the opportunity to direct Black Panther. The difference is that now he has more negotiating power after having proven himself.

Coogler is only 29 years old and graduated film school in 2011. He told Variety some of his thoughts on the challenges of a young Hollywood filmmaker.

“It’s so complicated living in this day and age in entertainment. Our generation is crazy because we grew up with all this pop culture. Star Wars isn’t just a movie to us. It’s something else, too. So I think you have that, and you also have the (Hollywood) machine. You have situations where you’re trying to make a movie, and it’s, ‘Either you jump on or we’ll find somebody else.’ It’s such an exciting time, but it’s also a frightening time. It’s a time where things move so fast and so hard with so much money at stake that an artist could lose himself.”

But judging by Coogler’s two feature films, Fruitvale Station and Creed, he’s carving a voice for himself. Joining the crowded field of superhero movies is a reflection of how much his unique directorial vision is wanted. And for Black Panther, Marvel will back that vision with major mainstream money.

Marvel’s Black Panther origin story is likely to lead out of his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and will perhaps be tied into the events in Avengers: Infinity War, which comes soon after. In comics Black Panther is a prestigious ruler of a prosperous nation. He’s also extremely powerful, and a formidable match for any opponent. It’s going to be hard to wait for Black Panther. Marvel is giving it all they got with a tremendous lineup of new movies.

[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney]