Following the critical and box office success of his second full length directorial outing, Rocky spin-off Creed, it was announced last month that Ryan Coogler was in talks to direct Black Panther for Marvel. Now Kevin Feige has made it official, with the Fruitvale Station (2013) director signing on to join the ranks of indie contemporaries Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Joss Whedon (Avengers: Age Of Ultron).
Coogler will direct Chadwick Boseman's (42) Black Panther in the character's first solo outing. "We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family," says producer Kevin Feige. "The talents Ryan showcased in his first two films easily made him our top choice to direct Black Panther. Many fans have waited a long time to see Black Panther in his own film, and with Ryan we know we've found the perfect director to bring T'Challa's story to life." But with MGM now locking in a November 2017 release for the Creed sequel, it seems likely that Coogler will have to pass on making the follow-up to that film.
It will certainly be a big step for the director to enter the complex, world building Marvel Cinematic Universe and direct the first full film for Boseman's Wakandan prince T'Challa, who will be introduced in Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: Civil War, due here on 29 April. Not every director has enjoyed working within the boundaries of Marvel's interconnected universe, but then this is a man who wrangled Sylvester Stallone's approval to make Creed and directed him to a performance that has people talking Academy Award® nomination. Previously, Ava DuVernay (Selma) passed on the Black Panther job, but Coogler is arguably a better fit.
Currently, Black Panther has a script in progress from Joe Robert Cole (Amber Lake) and a planned 2018 release date. Creed, meanwhile, is in UK cinemas now.