Black Panther director Ryan Coogler credits Marvel Studios for giving him the creative freedom he needed to make the film he envisioned. The filmmaker, who made a name for himself with smaller scale dramas Fruitvale Station and Creed, jumped to the big leagues with Black Panther, which is one of the MCU’s most integral Phase 3 installments. It is the first solo vehicle headlined by Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, following his introduction in last year’s Captain America: Civil War. Many fans are excited to see the nation of Wakanda brought to life, as the reaction to the official teaser trailer and San Diego Comic-Con footage were quite enthusiastic.
Franchises (particularly shared universes) are prevalent throughout Hollywood, and it’s pertinent that those involved with a tentpole find the proper balance between fulfilling the demands of the larger picture and giving the director enough leeway on the movie. Pesky “creative differences” come up all the time on these projects, which is why Selma director Ava DuVernay passed on the Black Panther job a while back. However, Coogler had no such problems, and from the sound of it, he had as much freedom as he’s ever had in his young career.
Screen Rant caught up with the director on the Marvel Studios press line at San Diego Comic-Con and asked him about the process of writing the script. Coogler mentioned that he was constantly in communication with his Marvel collaborators and was pleased to see they were all on the same page throughout it all:
“Absolutely. To be honest with you, man, I am still everyday surprised by how brave Marvel is in terms of telling stories and the things that we are doing in this film. I can’t wait to share with the world. But absolutely! Incredible creative freedom, man! And I think that what’s great with working with this studio specifically is that the communication, you constantly feel like you are in it together. You constantly feel like we are trying to make the same movie and trying to make the best version of that movie. So that’s been my experience, but I’ve had a lot of creative freedom.”
Coogler’s comments come out around the same time Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi revealed around 80 percent of his film was improvised (something that surprised even Mark Ruffalo). James Gunn, who has called the shots on two Guardians of the Galaxy films, has also discussed the large amounts of creative freedom he experienced, so it looks like Marvel is allowing the creative voices they hire to really play in their massive sandbox to take the property in exciting new directions. Of course, for every Coogler or Waititi, there’s a scenario like Edgar Wright, who left Ant-Man prior to principal photography. Obviously, each film Marvel makes has to fit into their greater plan, but it’s nice to see Kevin Feige acting mostly hands-off as producer, guiding the ship without micromanaging all the smaller details. This allows each entry to feel fresh and experiment with different tones.
After a successful 2016 and a 2017 that’s already produced hits Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel is poised to continue their hot streak in 2018. While all eyes are on Avengers: Infinity War and the culmination that will bring, Black Panther is the one that will get next year started – and hopefully on the right foot. If the footage released so far is any indication, fans will be in for a wild ride come February.
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