Skip to main content

Marvel Has Second Chance to Make History By Hiring Ryan Coogler as 'Black Panther' Director

'Creed' helmer Ryan Coogler is reportedly in talks with Marvel to direct 'Black Panther' unless the studio screws it up.
Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau, Russo Bros., Kenneth Branagh, Peyton Reed, James Gunn, Alan Taylor, Shane Black have a lot in common. Besides being talented directors who've directed very successful superhero movies for Marvel Studios they all happen to also be white. A new report has 'Creed' director Ryan Coogler in talks with the studio about directing the upcoming 'Black Panther' film. Coogler could become Marvel's first person of color to helm one of their franchises.

It would be a long overdue hire after 12 films featuring only white male directors as long as Marvel doesn't fumble the negotiations a second time. The acclaimed director of 'Selma' Ava Duvernay was also approached earlier this year to direct 'Black Panther' but the "creative differences" was the basis of her passing on the project. 
 "This is my art. This is what will live on after I’m gone. So it’s important to me that that be true to who I was in this moment. And if there’s too much compromise, it really wasn’t going to be an Ava DuVernay film."
 She also noted the time commitment to a film franchise that could consume her for three years keeping her from doing other projects. It's a reality that Coogler will have to weigh as he negotiates with the studio.



After a dynamic debut by writing and directing 'Fruitvale Station,' the true life story of Oscar Grant who was shot in the back while handcuffed by a Bay Area transit cop, Coogler became a hot property. His personal passion, however, was bringing another chapter of the 'Rocky' saga to life by focusing on the son of Apollo Creed, Adonis played by 'Fruitvale' star Michael B. Jordan.  The 'Rocky' movies had been a special bonding memory of Coogler's relationship with his father. 

'Black Panther' represents a lot of things for Marvel Studios who've stayed on their stringent plan of producing films for their most popular comic book characters in phases. And some not so popular. Regardless of quality, the studio has had hit after hit with even obscure properties like 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Ant-Man' becoming box office home runs. While the majority of the leading film franchise characters have been white, there have been some supporting characters of color. Nick Fury, Sam Wilson/The Falcon, and Jim Rhodes/War Machine have all played an important part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe mythos, but none had their own solo film.

In the fictional African nation of Wakanda,  T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) rules as the head of the Panther clan, the clan above all others in the technologically advanced nation. He is one of the smartest people on earth, an Olympic-level athlete, and historically empowered by mystical forces. His role in the upcoming 'Captain America: Civil War' is described as a third party with his own agenda.
"Panther was added to the story ahead of his solo-movie debut because Civil War needed someone who had his own agenda, who was a third party separate from the factions that aligned themselves behind Captain America and Iron Man."
Black Panther was the first black comic book superhero when he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. T'Challa is on the level of heroes like Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Thor, and other Avengers and in the comics was an off-and-on Avenger. The solo film is poised to be a landmark pop culture event featuring the first leading black superhero in a live-action film during this new golden age of comic book adaptations. Marvel Studios hiring a black director would seem the proper approach if it's going to make the first 'Panther' movie with the same reverence as the first 'Iron Man' or first 'Captain America.'

What Coogler has done as the writer, co-writer, and director of his first two films is bring a nuanced and informed approach to the material that only someone who is African-American can bring. The interpersonal relationships he establishes in his films, especially those involving women, adds a layer of realism and relatability that makes them three-dimensional characters. The latest example, one that has endeared 'black twitter' in particular, is a scene in 'Creed' where Adonis is helping Bianca (Tessa Thompson) with her hair. It's an intimate and vulnerable scene between the two characters where they're examining each other's fears. It also serves as a metaphor for how they support each other in the film. 

Will Marvel value that kind attention to detail and intimacy for  another big budget action-and-quip movie from the MCU factory? Hard to say but they see the talent and natural instincts of a young passionate filmmaker on the rise. Marvel needs Coogler more then he needs them. He can punch his own ticket and on his own terms. The Marvel Studios system can be a grind as Whedon, Favreau, and Edgar Wright found out. Here is an opportunity for Marvel in essense to get Martin Scorsese to direct 'Star Wars' after 'Mean Streets.' 

With all the well-earned criticisms over the last couple years of Marvel's lack of race and gender diversity in everything from comics, toys, television shows, and movies the hiring of one the hottest directors to direct the highly regarded African Avenger would be a momentous step in the right direction. Unless of course, Marvel finds a way to screw it up. 





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Red Sonja & Vampirella Meet Betty & Veronica' #2 by Amy Chu and Maria Sanapo

The body count increases and the mystery deepens as Vampirella and Red Sonja investigate the deaths plaguing Riverdale High. Turns out American high school life is as mysterious and perplexing as the murders themselves! Meanwhile, Betty and Veronica have troubles of their own when they butt heads with the editor of the school newspaper over their investigative news coverage. Is there a coverup afoot?


Red Sonja & Vampirella Meet Betty & Veronica #2
writer: Amy Chu artist: Maria Sanapo covers: Fay Dalton (A), Robert Hack  (B), Laura Braga (C)              Dan Parent (D), Cat Staggs (E)               Dan Parent (RI-B/W), Laura Braga (RI-B/W),                Laura Braga (RI-Virgin), Dan Parent (RI-Virgin)
FC  |  32 pages  |  $3.99  |   Teen+  










Legendary Comics Releases Volume Two of 'Lost in Space: Countdown to Danger' and 'Firebrand: The Initiation of Natali Presano'

Legendary Comics announces the release of the second seasons of popular comic series: LOST IN SPACE: COUNTDOWN TO DANGER and FIREBRAND: THE INITIATION OF NATALI PRESANO.


Launching into comic stores and online today, Volume Two of Lost in Space: Countdown to Danger tells all new thrilling backstories of the show’s favorite heroic characters, with a special focus on Parker Posey’s villainous ‘Dr. Smith’ and fan favorite ‘Robot.’ While, Season Two of Firebrand: The Initiation of Natali Presano, created by Jessica Chobot and Erika Lewis, continues the journey of a young witch who has come to Seattle to defend humanity against darkness, now available exclusively on Webtoon. Readers can download the official Webtoon app by visiting the Apple App Store and Google Play.


LOST IN SPACE: COUNTDOWN TO DANGER:

Penned by writer Richard Dinnick (Doctor Who; Thunderbirds) and Brian Buccellato (Detective Comics; The Flash) with stunning artwork by Zid (Skull Island: Birth of Kong; Trick ‘r Treat: Days …

Jordie Bellaire and Drew Moss Bring 'Vampirella/Red Sonja' Together for New Ongoing Series

Long overdue history in the making! Dynamite's two flagship heroines are teaming up in a new ongoing series starting in September, written by the multitalented and Eisner-winning Jordie Bellaire (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Redlands) with art by Drew Moss (Star Wars).


The story starts in 1969, the genesis of Vampirella - timed perfectly with her 50th Anniversary now being celebrated in 2019. Vampi's new to Earth and still adapting to our world. She finds herself attracted to the supernatural and paranormal mysteries of the world. When suddenly she runs across a young Red Sonja, plucked out of time and clueless. The two women set forth on an adventure, collaborating as both detectives and warriors to find out what has happened... only for more space-time shenanigans to befall them! Do not expect any cliché misunderstanding fights, these two Women of Dynamite are working together, no holds barred.

This series marks Jordie Bellaire further flexing her skills as a writer, following …

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

Fitness Women in Superhero Body Paint by J.M. Manion

J.M. Manion has long been a successful photographer covering the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has photographed some of the strongest, well-defined physiques on the planet. He's also had a love of super-heroes and comic books. So much so that Manion began publishing his own comic book, Iron Siren Comics, featuring some of the fitness competitors he's covered as superheroes themselves. It's no wonder he sometimes incorporates superhero cosplay and body paint into photo shoots. Here are just some examples of his work: