Later this year, when we see the superhero festivities of Captain America: Civil War, one thing comic book fans are looking forward to is getting our first taste of Black Panther. The character will initially show up in May before getting his own solo adventure in 2018, but while his MCU debut is in the can, we’ve been left to wonder about what comes next. While most of the details are still hidden from view, we now have official word that Ryan Coogler will helm the upcoming Black Panther.
This has been the rumor for some time, and last we heard Coogler was in talks to take the helm. But the official word just came down from Marvel.com, so it’s official official, not just a fairly substantial report from a reliable source, and he may be the perfect hire.
At just 29-years-old (it’s enough to make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life), Ryan Coogler only has two directorial features under his belt, but they’re two strong films. In 2013 he caught the public attention with the indie drama Fruitvale Station, while last fall he breathed new life into the Rocky franchise with Creed, which just won Sylvester Stallone a Golden Globe last night. Both films star Michael B. Jordan, and the later not only performed well as the box office, but it has garnered fantastic reviews along the way, landing on many a best-of list for 2015.
Though Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon in the MCU, made a statement to the contrary, many have come out and publicly said that the director of Black Panther, the first superhero movie fronted by a black protagonist, needs to have a black director. Ryan Coogler was one of these people, so perhaps that caught the eye of Marvel—or it could have been that incredible, one-shot fight scene from Creed.
Black Panther, which will star Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa—the king of the fictional, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda who does double duty as a costumed hero—will mark a big step up for Ryan Coogler. He went from a low-budget indie to a moderately budgeted studio picture, and moving into the Marvel ranks is sure to be yet another big leap. But thus far he’s proven that he’s up to the challenges that have been handed him. He hasn’t handled anything with this level of action before—there are fights in Creed, but nothing on the level Black Panther is sure to have—but he has certainly shown that he has a firm grasp on what to do behind the camera.
Ryan Coogler has shown himself to be a promising young filmmaker to watch, but now he’s getting called up to the big leagues. We’ll get our first taste of what Black Panther is up to in Captain America: Civil War on May 6 of this year, and we’ll see what Coogler and Marvel have in store for the character when Black Panther hits February 16, 2018.