Why Marvel's Black Panther Needs A Black Director, According To Ryan Coogler

Black Panther is a little under two-and-a-half years away from release, but the hunt for the movie’s director still continues. While Marvel appears to be looking at filmmakers from all different backgrounds to take on T’Challa’s solo movie, many of the ones that have been rumored for it have been black. This includes Creed director Ryan Coogler, the most recent contender, and while that didn’t pan out, he does believe that it’s important that a black director be the one at the helm.

Coogler noted that perspective is important when it comes to art, so when a filmmaker “comes from a particular culture,” that means they have the same types of experiences that are helpful for tackling specific subject matters. As he further explained to ScreenRant:

I think that there is a potential for a greater truth when a filmmaker comes from a particular culture that they’re dealing with. That’s not to say that a filmmaker can’t work outside his or her cultural space. But I do believe that the opportunity for the film to have more nuance will come when you looking at filmmakers that bring a little bit of that from their personal experience.

He went on to add that if he was in the position of making a movie about the “first woman superhero,” he would do his best to find a woman to direct it because that’s also a situation where finding the cultural perspective is key. Considering the fact that all of Marvel’s directors so far have been white men, it wouldn’t hurt the studio to hire experienced creative talent from other demographics, especially for one of the most famous black superheroes of all time.

However, as Coogler himself noted, there’s always room for a director to work outside their “cultural space,” and Falcon actor Anthony Mackie also said last month that race shouldn't be the determining factor when it comes to picking the Black Panther director. We’ll just have to wait and see in what direction Marvel decides to go when it comes to making sure the African hero’s movie is the best it can be.

Coogler is just the latest in a long line of directors that have either been rumored or had discussions about helming Black Panther, including Selma’s Ava DuVernay and Straight Outta Compton’s F. Gary Gray. Whoever ends up being hired in the near future, they will be handling Black Panther’s first solo adventure (written by Joe Robert Cole) following his debut next year in Captain America: Civil War. Just like in the comics, the MCU’s T’Challa will be the ruler of the technologically advanced country Wakanda and the latest to take the Black Panther identity and use it to defeat evildoers.

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, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.