Director Ryan Coogler appears to definitely be in the MCU's Phase 4 and Black Panther 2 plans. Marvel Studios may be gearing up for the release of Avengers: Infinity War in just one week, but they've already had an incredibly strong year. Their 2018 slate kicked off with the release of Black Panther in February, and it shattered every expectation. Currently sitting with a global box office haul over $1.3 billion, it's a good thing audiences can revisit Wakanda so quickly in Infinity War.
While the third act of the team-up takes place in Black Panther's world, fans are anxious for a proper return in a solo movie that is completely focused in the world of Wakanda. Marvel has yet to confirm their plans for Phase 4, but Black Panther 2 is absolutely set to be a piece. Even though this isn't confirmation from Marvel Studios themselves, their two biggest directors may have just confirmed that this is the case - and that director Ryan Coogler is coming back.
ODE spoke to Joe and Anthony Russo as part of Infinity War's press tour and asked who has seen the movie prior to the world premiere in just a few days. The Russos understandably have kept the movie out of sight of many, but James Gunn previously revealed he'd seen it. That isn't just because Gunn's a producer, but because he's developing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. His viewing wasn't the only one, as the Russos say they showed the movie to those developing Phase 4 movies, which Joe Russo says includes Coogler.
We did allow James [Gunn], Jon Watts, and Ryan Coogler to see the movie to this point. So, yes you have to be working on a film that this will be affecting your storytelling moving forward.
Based on this comment, it does look as though Coogler is officially going to be back in the MCU. Considering Kevin Feige previously expressed his interest in working with Coogler again and the film's success, it isn't terribly surprising. The assumption here is that he'll be writing and directing Black Panther 2. If he is already working on it, that could very well speed up the possible release date for the sequel. Many believed the sequel would come in 2021, but with work potentially already underway, there could be a chance it comes out in the summer or fall of 2020.
Coogler returning is a great sign for the sequel regardless of when it comes out. He really brought the different parts of Wakanda to life, and set up some very cool ideas for the sequel. It's only fitting that he'll (likely) be the one to play with Wakanda stepping out of the shadows. Coogler will become the seventh director to make two movies in the MCU, too. Since it is highly unlikely the Russos misspoke, expect some formal announcements on Coogler's return in the future, likely at San Diego Comic-Con at the latest.
Black Panther 2 is in development but does not have a release date.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019