Black Panther: Forest Whitaker Praises Director Ryan Coogler

Black Panther star Forest Whitaker is praising director Ryan Coogler ahead of filming, while also briefly teasing his character, Zuri.

Forest Whitaker in Black Panther

Marvel Studios is now well into Phase 3 and next year they begin to increase their content to three films per year. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok are set for next year, each with a talented cast attached. Come 2018, it will be Black Panther that not only kicks off the year, but could have the best cast of any Marvel movie to date. Outside of Chadwick Boseman returning as the new king of Wakanda, Marvel has cast a slew of new characters with Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and more getting roles.

One of the other new additions to the MCU has been Forest Whitaker. He is fresh off a role in Disney's other major franchise in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and now he appears to be very excited to get a chance to team up with ultra-talented director Ryan Coogler.

Whitaker was a guest on the The Empire Film Podcast to discuss his involvement in Rogue One, but before the interview ended, he was asked about the upcoming superhero film. The one aspect of the film that made him extremely interested was Coogler being attached to the project.

“I’m excited to do it. I mean I think Ryan’s an amazing filmmaker. I’ve got a chance to know him since college, so I’m excited to see what it’s like to be working with him on the other side, not as a producer but as an actor cause that’s how we started with Fruitvale Station.”

Rogue One - Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera
Forest Whitaker in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Coogler's involvement appears to be a major factor so far in getting recognizable stars to join the project, such as Whitaker. After Fruitvale Station (which was produced by Whitaker) and his true breakout film Creed, Coogler is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. There is surely also some influence that Marvel Studios and their track record has in continuing to bring in actors of this caliber, but it is great to see Coogler being a driving factor in having people be excited to be in Black Panther.

Meanwhile, Whitaker's character has not been a secret as Marvel made his role of Zuri official upon the announcement. However, this will not be the warrior and friend of T'Challa that Zuri is in the comics. Instead, Whitaker says, "He's like the shaman of this community." This fits with the elder description that Marvel gave and could put Whitaker in a prime role in this movie as he helps T'Challa adjust to life as a king. With production set to begin at the turn of the calendar year, it should not be long until Whitaker is reunited with Coogler and embarks on this journey.

Source: The Empire Film Podcast

Key Release Dates
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • 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
Star Wars: J.J. Abrams Teases Ahsoka Cameo in Rise of Skywalker