After Black Panther make his MCU debut next year in Captain America: Civil War, the leader of Wakanda will star in his own film in 2018. Despite the film being three years away, there’s been a lot of chatter lately about who will direct the solo film. Selma’s Ava DuVernay almost took the job, but ended up passing on it. Now there’s a new candidate who may be in the running for Black Panther: F. Gary Gray, director of this month’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.

During an interview with BlackTree TV about Gray’s new film, the outlet brought up how they heard that his name might be in the running to helm Black Panther. Gray responded:
I would love to direct a superhero movie, man. We’ll see what happens. If it’s right, I’m there.

It’s unclear from that statement whether Gray is simply expressing interest in Black Panther or if he has actually had a conversation with Marvel, but either way, it sounds like he has at least thought about the project. This isn’t the first time Gray has been connected to a Marvel film. He was in the running to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier back in 2012, but he dropped so he could direct Straight Outta Compton, and the Russo Brothers were hired instead. With Straight Outta Compton so far earning positive early reviews from critics, Marvel should at least consider meeting with Gray if they haven’t already.

Gray kicked off his directing career in 1992, helming the music video for Ice Cube’s "It Was a Good Day," and throughout the 1990s and 2000s directed music videos for artists and groups like Cypress Hill, Dr. Dre, OutKast, Whitney Houston, and Coolio. The first feature film he directed was 1995’s Friday, and his other notable credits include The Italian Job, Be Cool, A Man Apart, and Law Abiding Citizen.

As far as Black Panther goes, only star Chadwick Boseman is confirmed to appear. Little is known about the MCU’s T’Challa other than during the Civil War conflict he will function as that film’s third party rather than ally himself with Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. Martin Freeman’s mysterious Captain America: Civil War character will also reportedly play some part in Black Panther, and it’s possible we could see Andy Serkis reprise Ulysses Klaw (spelled Klaue in the MCU), Black Panther’s most notorious adversary from the comics, who was last seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron getting his arm sliced off by the eponymous villain.

Comic book fans and general moviegoers can look forward to Black Panther hitting theaters on July 6, 2018.

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