His solo movie doesn’t come out until 2018, and the character won’t make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut until next year, but there has already been a great deal of talk about who will direct Black Panther. Selma’s Ava DuVernay was very publicly courted by Marvel, and Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray has recently been mentioned, but as it turns out, there’s a very good reason why no one has been given the job yet: Marvel is still waiting to see a script before making that decision, and it sounds like it may be a while before that happens.

According to The Wrap, Marvel is closing in on a deal to secure the services of a scribe, and are near inking a contract with Joe Robert Cole to pen the script. Cole wrote and directed the 2011 thriller Amber Lake, and this isn’t the first time he’s been linked to a Marvel movie. Back in 2014, reports went around that he was going to write the Inhumans movie set for release in 2019. While he may not have an hugely extensive resume, Cole is part of the same in-house writer’s program Nicole Perlman, who worked on the Guardians of the Galaxy script, was involved with.

Despite all of the talk about potential Black Panther directors, the report states that there are no serious contenders at this point. That makes a great deal of sense, especially considering that the movie is a ways off. And though there is sure to be a road map for the story in place, knowing the specifics of a script will be key in finding the right fit for the job.

The report also says that, after the public event that was the Ava DuVernay situation, Marvel is holding off until the script is in hand. While the debates seemed amicable, DuVernay ultimately passed on the chance to helm Black Panther for a number of reasons, including that it would tie her up for years, and that she wouldn’t have been able to make the movie she wanted to make within the Marvel confines.

And as far as F. Gary Gray goes, while he could certainly be a good fit, yesterday arrived with reports that he was the front runner to helm Furious 8. While that doesn’t necessarily take him out of contention for Black Panther, it could prove to be a scheduling hurdle.

This is going to be an interesting director hunt to watch unfold. Marvel appears to be committed to increasing the diversity of the behind the scenes players, and they recently proved that they’re willing to go off book in hiring new filmmakers. Flight of the Conchords Taika Waititi, who is most known for his off-beat comedies, is reportedly in talks to helm the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, which is also going to be something worth keeping an eye on.

Black Panther is scheduled to hit theaters July 6, 2018, though we’ll get our first introduction to T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, when Captain America: Civil War opens May 6, 2016. Who would you like to see direct Black Panther? Sound off in the comments below.

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