29 year-old writer and director Ryan Coogler, the man who spearheaded the green-lighting and development of the award-worthy Creed, is now charged with helming Marvel’s Black Panther movie. The news became official this week, after Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige previously confirmed it, which means while Coogler won’t be directing Creed 2 for its 2017 release, he will be exec producing that sequel while spending the bulk of his time crafting another type of passion project, superheroic one.
From Fruitvale Station to Creed, Coogler’s filmography is comprised of personal, passion-driven work, and we could sense that he felt the same about Black Panther when we spoke to him last year. Now that he’s joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s creative team, Coogler can speak freely about the subject.
While chatting with HeyUGuys to promote Creed after Marvel’s official Black Panther announcement, Coogler says he’s “absolutely” bringing the same personal angle to Black Panther that he did for Creed, something that helped make its character stories so strong.
“I’m excited. I grew very into pop culture, very into comic books, so it’s something that is just as personal to me as the last couple of films I was able to make. I feel really fortunate to be able to work on something I’m this passionate about again.”
After several release schedule shifts for Phase 3 of the MCU thanks to the additions of Ant-Man and the Wasp and Spider-Man, Black Panther is now coming to theaters in February 2018 which means production will begin by the end of this year and Coogler says his work begins immediately. With the character (real name: T’Challa) being introduced this May in Captain America: Civil War, played by Chadwick Boseman, Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole, have a starting point to work from in introducing the Black Panther legacy and the high-tech, secretive African nation of Wakanda.
Black Panther is more than just an origin story for T’Challa becoming the ultimate warrior and ruler of Wakanda. The film, described as a “geopolitical action adventure,” lays important groundwork and connects directly to Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 which debuts in theaters just a few months later.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Black Panther art from DragoArt.