After delivering a cinematic haymaker with Creed, director Ryan Coogler has landed the coveted job of helming Marvel’s forthcoming Black Panther. As rumors swirled over who would direct the superhero epic, Coogler’s name popped up alongside the likes of Ava DuVernay and F. Gary Gray. However, in a statement on Monday, Marvel made it official that Ryan Coogler is the man to bring Wakanda’s mightiest warrior to the big screen.
The long-gestating project will claw its way into theaters on February 16, 2018, starring Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the King of Wakanda who fights the forces of evil as the titular Black Panther. This will mark Boseman’s second appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after his appearance in Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, and Coogler’s first entry into the sprawling cinematic universe.
“We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family,” said producer Kevin Feige in a statement on Marvel.com. “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.”
Coogler first made a name for himself with 2013’s Fruitvale Station, which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance. More recently, he reteamed with his Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan to direct Creed, for which Sylvester Stallone earned a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 and is widely regarded as the first black superhero in mainstream comics. Over the years, Black Panther has been a seminal part of the Marvel Universe, as well as a key member of the Avengers. Since as early as 1992, there have been plans to bring Black Panther to the big screen, but they all stalled out, including a version that would have starred Wesley Snipes. Now, though, Marvel Studios is confident that they have all the pieces in place to bring T’Challa to the big screen the way he was meant to be seen. And as a longtime Black Panther fan, I have to say it’s about time.
What do you think of Ryan Coogler directing Black Panther? What else do you hope to see from this film? Let me know in the comments below.
A brief history of Marvel movies that almost happened: