Ryan Coogler is going to make history next year by being the first black director to helm a major comic book movie. Coogler himself discovered the character of Black Panther as a kid, but Panther wasn't the character that got him into comics in the first place. That honor would go to Bishop, a black member of the X-Men who Coogler was first attracted to because he was one of the few comic book characters that looked like him.
We all look for ways to relate our favorite fictional characters, so it's no surprise that Ryan Coogler found a kinship not just in Bishop but in the X-Men in general. According to Entertainment Weekly, Coogler also became interested in the X-Men in general because of the way that the mutants struggle was a parallel for race relations. it was only after Bishop and the X-Men instilled a love of comics in Coogler that he went to his local comic book shop in Oakland, California looking for other black superheroes. It was then that he was introduced to Black Panther, a character he would now help bring to life at the movies.
While Bishop isn't a completely unknown character outside of the comics, he doesn't have quite the name recognition that most of the other X-Men characters have thanks to the films. He's only been portrayed once, in X-Men: Days of Future Past where he was played, in a fairly small role, by actor Omar Sy. He's slightly better known to those of the right age to grow up on the X-Men animated series in the 1990s, where the character played a prominent role for a couple different story arcs throughout the series.
Now, Ryan Coogler has moved on from simply reading comic books to bringing them to life. Black Panther made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut last year in Captain America: Civil War, but he will take center stage early next year when the Black Panther movie debuts. We expect to be learning a great deal about the film over the next couple of weeks as Disney's D23 Expo is getting underway now, and San Diego Comic-Con follows it up next week.
In addition to scoring Ryan Coogler, who previously directed the acclaimed Fruitvale Station and Creed, Black Panther has a remarkable cast that includes Chadwick Boseman in the lead role, alongside the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, and Forest Whitaker among many others. It's one of the strongest casts ever assembled for a Marvel movie.
We're looking forward to learning more about Black Panther over the coming months. The film arrives in theaters February 16, 2018.