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Does Black Panther's Director Need To Be Black? Here's What Anthony Mackie Says

Despite being more than two years away, Marvel is searching for a director to take on Black Panther. It was reported this past summer that Marvel is looking to hire a black filmmaker for the Wakandan hero’s solo adventure, but we’ll have to wait and see whether this actually happens. However, if you ask Anthony Mackie, he’ll tell you it should be a job open to anybody regardless of the color of their skin.

Mackie, who plays Sam Wilson, a.k.a. The Falcon, in the MCU, told Variety that race shouldn’t be the main factor to determine who ultimately helms Black Panther, commenting that 2003’s Seabiscuit didn’t get a horse to direct it. He elaborated:

The thing is I don’t think the race of the director has to do with their ability to tell a story. I think it’s all about the director’s ability to be able to relate to that story and do it justice. I think men can direct women, and two of my greatest work experiences were with female directors. So I think it all depends. May the best man — or woman — win.

While talent certainly is key when it comes to creative projects, there’s no denying that when it comes to the director’s chair, Marvel hasn’t been a beacon of diversity. Of the 12 directors that have taken on Marvel Studios movies, or have been announced to, all of them have been white males. However, contrary to Mackie’s comments, it appears Marvel has set their eyes primarily on black creators for Black Panther, who is one of the popular black heroes in all of comics.

Candidates for the job have ranged from Rick Famuyiwa to F. Gary Gray over the last year. Selma’s Ava DuVernay was reportedly offered the job, but turned it down. The latest person Marvel is eyeing is Ryan Coogler, the man behind 2013’s Fruitvale Station and next month’s Creed. However, when it first came out that Joe Robert Cole is finalizing the deal to write the Black Panther screenplay, it was also reported that there are no serious contenders at this point, primarily because the script isn’t finished.

When T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) makes his MCU debut next year in Captain America: Civil War, he won’t have been serving as the Black Panther for very long, making him a relatively inexperienced hero. Although he is featured in the concept art as being part of Iron Man’s team, it’s also been said that he will really act as a third party trying to accomplish his own goals. As for his solo adventure, no plot details have come out yet, although it’s rumored that Martin Freeman’s unidentified character will be featured, and many suspect that Ulysses Klaue from Avengers: Age of Ultron may serve as the main antagonist considering his relationship with T’Challa in the comics.

Black Panther arrives in theaters on February 16, 2018.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.