The global pandemic has absolutely blown up the movie industry as we know it. With so many films seeing delayed releases and that many and then some having to cease production, we have no real idea whatever when things will ever return to something that resembles normal, but what is clear is that it's going to take years for the repercussions to be fully dealt with. One key case in point, the director of photography for Black Panther may not be able to return to shoot the sequel due to COVID-19 related delays, even though that movie is nearly two years away.
Rachel Morrison was the director of photography on the original Black Panther, and she was set to return for the sequel, but she was two days into filming her directorial debut, Flint Strong, when the global pandemic closed down the film. While initially hoping to restart filming next month, shooting has now been scheduled for January 2021, and that's likely going to put the filming of Flint Strong right up against the filming of Black Panther 2, meaning that Morrison won't be able to work with Ryan Cooglar on the Marvel follow-up, though she is holding out hope. Morrison tells Indiewire...
I was supposed to deliver my movie and then a few months later hop on to Black Panther 2. Now, there might be some issue of those overlapping. Ryan and I talk regularly. He called me up cause he had a dream a few ago that he was three weeks into production and this male DP comes out holding a camera and he’s like, ‘That’s not my DP. Where the fuck is Rachel?’ If we had gone back in September, I think we could make it, but now it’s a bit of a moment of truth for everyone to realize if my movie is definitely going back in January that I probably won’t be able to do ‘Panther,’ which is devastating to me. If we can’t go back in January and we get pushed into fall of next year, maybe I can do Panther.
Black Panther 2 is scheduled for release in May of 2022, which means it's likely eyeing early 2021 to begin filming. When Flint Strong was planning to shoot this fall, there was plenty of time to do both, but now, the schedule is going to be tight.
The pandemic has caused a chain reaction of events that we'll likely be dealing with for the next few years. Production delays are forcing various cast and crew to drop out of movies they were set to be part of because of contractual requirements to work on other projects. When it's movies that need to wait for particular actors or directors, we're seeing movies need to delay production, not directly due to COVID-19, but because the virus forced other movies to be delayed.
Black Panther was a huge movie, and so you can bet Marvel is going to want to get as many people who were part of the first film's success back for the sequel, but it's unlikely the production is going to wait for the cinematographer. Perhaps, if the overlap between Flint Strong and Black Panther 2 isn't too great, the film can wait for Morrison, assuming of course she's willing to jump directly from one project to the other.
Of course, if one movie or the other is delayed further, it could end up all working out, and at this point, that's certainly possible.