With less than a month before the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 3 kicks off with Captain America: Civil War, anticipation is at an all-time high. Critics lucky enough to have already seen the movie have been very positive, with some calling it the best that Marvel Studios has produced to date. Not only will we see Iron Man and Cap go head-to-head, but also enjoy the introduction of Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther - both of whom are getting their own solo outings over the next couple of years. For Boseman's Black Panther - or T'Challa, King of the fictional African nation Wakanda - this is the character's first cinematic outing.
After his debut this May, audiences will have to wait almost two years (February 2018) before focus draws in on Black Panther and his kingdom. So far we know that Ryan Coogler (Creed) is signed on to direct and the film's screenwriter is Joe Robert Cole, a graduate of Marel's in-house screenwriting group who has highlighted the importance of the film, and has been delving into African history for inspiration. Concerning the plot, MCU chief Kevin Feige promises it to be a big geopolitical action adventure that is also connected to Avengers: Infinity War. No doubt Martin Freeman's Everett Ross, a Black Panther regular, will play a vital role after his first turn in Captain America: Civil War too.
Speaking of which, in a recent interview with Feige for Cap's third outing, Collider took a moment to get an update on how Black Panther is coming along. Feige was asked if they had locked in a finished script, and this is what he had to say:
“Very soon. We have a number of writers on it including Ryan Coogler, who is also directing, he’s working on the draft right now. Between now and the end of the summer there will be more casting announcements. We start filming at the very beginning of next year.”
From just a few sentences we've learnt quite a lot of new information. Firstly, Coogler is also working on a draft of the Black Panther script - something he's already used to doing alongside his directing duties from his previous two directorial efforts, Fruitvale Station and Creed. We've also now learned than more casting announcements are to come by the end of the summer, and crucially that filming will begin at the start of 2017 - perhaps in time for a teaser trailer to coincide with the following May release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Whilst having too many writers on the same script can confuse the narrative's arc, the news that Coogler is working on a Black Panther script draft himself is encouraging. Apart from the awards season success of Creed as an obvious example, historically when a director takes on writing duties - much like, to use a fitting example, Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn does - the movie usually works really well. Creative control is maintained because what was envisaged by the director at script level is interpreted as planned, when it comes to the actual art of direction. This, and with filming starting early next year, the Wakandian hero's solo story couldn't arrive any sooner.
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 7, 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.