Ryan Coogler is one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood right now after the massive box office success of Black Panther.
The film broke all kinds of records when it landed in theaters earlier this year. Not only was it the most-talked-about superhero flick on Twitter, it also raked plenty of money in tickets sales, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time and shattering expectations overseas where critics worried the movie wouldn’t play as well. The film also bulldozed through some archaic barriers still in place in Hollywood by featuring a majority black cast and a black superhero lead.
Of course, after proving himself more than capable of handling the futuristic world of Wakanda, Coogler has been tapped to helm the sequel, but could there be an all-female spin-off in the works as well?
Variety reports that Coogler gave an extensive two-hour discussion about the film and his body of work at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, where he went into detail about the importance of the female characters in the film. When asked whether he thought the women were as important as the men in the movie, the director had an answer ready.
“I think you could argue they are more important,” he said.
Coogler went on to describe entire sequences of the film that featured only women, characters like Danai Gurira’s Okoye, Letitia Wright’s Shuri, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia.
“That part of the movie you feel like you’re watching something fresh and new,” he said. “That part of it was exciting. We have these actresses who could easily carry their own movie.”
When asked point blank whether he thought an all-female Black Panther spin-off might be a possibility, Coogler let this slip.
“Oh man,” Coogler said. “That would be amazing if the opportunity came up. They did it in the comic-book version.”
Obviously, Coogler has his plate full at the moment, but there are plenty of female directors capable of taking the reins if Disney decides to go that route. Wright’s character in the film, Shuri, the tech-genius and little sister to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), quickly became a fan favorite after the film premiered, as did Gurira’s Okoye, the General of the Dora Milaje, an elite fighting force made up entirely of women warriors. A film following their training, or Nyongo’s Nakia, as she goes on “war dog” missions for Wakanda, could easily fill two hours of screen time.
And we already know that Wright is on board.
Other than talk of his superhero success, Coogler used his time at Cannes to give back to the next generation of filmmaking. The director has been open about how attending the festival changed how he approached filmmaking so, for his Q&A masterclass, he invited 60 film students, many of them black film students, to attend his talk.