After decades of playing an important role in the history of Marvel Comics, Black Panther is finally getting his day on the big screen. Captain America: Civil War marked the character's first live-action adaptation, and as part of the unfolding Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe he will soon be at the center of his very own solo movie. But what exactly can we expect from the upcoming blockbuster? That's what we're here to talk about.
Continuing our long line of "What We Know So Far" guides, our latest dives deep into the Black Panther movie that has been developing at Marvel Studios for a few years now. When is the film coming out? Who is the director at the helm? What will it be about? Find information on all of that and more as you read on!
What Is The Black Panther Release Date?
Since the release of director Jon Favreau's Iron Man back in 2008, Marvel Studios has done a lot of experimenting with various release date windows. Sure, they regularly have a film out on the first week of May, but we have also seen titles come out in July, November, April, and August. Black Panther will be yet another test in this arena, as it will be the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise to come out in February -- specifically on February 16, 2018.
Beyond the fact that the blockbuster release date window is widening all around the industry, with big studio movies starting to come out in every month of the year, there is another reason why Black Panther is coming out so early in 2018: to give it some distance from Joe and Anthony Russo's The Avengers: Infinity War, which comes out on May 4, 2018. By coming out in mid-February, Black Panther is provided some breathing room (though the movies may still wind up being in theaters simultaneously in certain areas).
What Is The Black Panther Rating?
The MPAA doesn't actually classify films until they are just about ready to hit theaters, and there has been no direct confirmation from director Ryan Coogler regarding the rating. That being said, we can already guarantee you what the rating will be be: PG-13. This is simply because Disney and Marvel just aren't in the business of making R-rated superhero movies at this time.
While the X-Men franchise has been changing things up ratings-wise, with movies like Deadpool and Logan set up to be more adult-oriented, it makes sense for Marvel Studios to stick with PG-13 ratings for all of their big screen projects -- including Black Panther. The reality is that most of the characters from the comics lend themselves to a younger-skewing audience anyway, and given the cohesiveness of the continuity in the films, it makes sense that all of the stories should be accessible to cinema-goers of all ages. Plus, Marvel has managed to establish Netflix as their home base for grittier, darker, and more violent storytelling, allowing the features to remain more justifiably kid-friendly. So, even though you may really, really want an R rating, Black Panther is most definitely going to be released as a PG-13 film.
What Will Black Panther Be About?
After Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther will be only the second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise that is a debut solo film about a previously established character in the continuity. Captain America: Civil War lays out all of the basics that audiences need to know about the hero, so it will be the job of the solo film to pick up where that story left off. That means that Black Panther will definitely not be an origin story, and that opens up a world of possibilities for the feature.
Because Marvel Studios is notoriously secretive about all of their upcoming projects, there isn't a great deal of information available about the plot of Black Panther - even though we do have an official synopsis. That said, we have been able to glean a few things. The movie will pick up after the events of Captain America: Civil War, which notably featured the death of his father, King T'Chaka (John Kani). Because of this, T'Challa will be crowned the king of his home nation of Wakanda - which is obviously a pretty intense job. Not helping things is that the change in the royal family and the instability it causes attracts some antagonist forces that wish to disrupt things even further. Beyond that, the feature can hit the ground running by presenting the character in any of the classic adventures he's experienced in the comics -- be it involving his position as a diplomat and representative of Wakanda on a global scale; doing battle with the various rival tribes that live on the border of his nation; or protecting the country's most valuable resource: Vibranium.
Who Is The Black Panther Director?
Director Ryan Coogler is only 31 years old, and in the last few years has emerged as one of the most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers in the industry. It all began at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where Coogler's feature directorial debut, Fruitvale Station (then just called Fruitvale) won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Coogler rode this acclaim to his first franchise gig, writing and directing the Rocky spin-off-esque Creed, and he has since signed on to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe family of filmmakers as the man behind Black Panther.
Given the amount of acclaim that Ryan Coogler received for his first two films, the young filmmaker is really in a position where he can call some shots in the industry, and many have regarded his deal to make Black Panther as an impressive coup for Marvel Studios. It's true that Coogler -- along with his co-writer Joe Robert Cole - doesn't yet have experience with epic, large-scale set pieces that are typically found in giant studio blockbusters, but thanks to Creed we do know that he can do a tremendous job capturing beautiful fight choreography. Given access to the resources that can be made available to him working with Marvel, we definitely expect some big screen magic.