If there's one thing that Marvel Studios isn't afraid of, it's planning ahead. The current set of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have been planned since before the release of Iron Man, and we already know which superheroes are going to be seen in standalone films all the way up the release of Inhumans in summer 2019.
The studio has already begun securing directors for its Phase Three movies, with Ant-Man writer Adam McKay confirmed to be in the running for one of them. The slew of superhero movies from Marvel will also diversify the lineup a little, featuring the franchise's first female movie lead in Captain Marvel and its first black lead in Black Panther.
Now it sounds like Marvel is also interested in changing things up behind the scenes. All eleven Marvel movies released so far (plus five more whose directors have been announced) have been directed by a white man (or two), but The Wrap reports that Marvel is currently courting Ava DuVernay to direct a "diverse" superhero movie, with Black Panther the most likely possibility according to industry insiders.
DuVernay made waves last year with her biographical drama Selma, which starred David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in an account of the 1965 march for equal voting rights. The movie came away from this year's Academy Awards with an Oscar for Best Original Song, and if DuVernay does end up helming a Phase Three movie, she will be the third Marvel director to have previously directed an Oscar-winning film (the other two are Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston).
The directors currently lined up for future Marvel movies are Peyton Reed (Ant-Man), Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy 2) and Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War and The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part II). That leaves Spider-Man, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans still without directors.
The script for Black Panther is being written by documentary screenwriter Mark Bailey, and Captain Marvel is being written by Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out). According to TheWrap's report there is "mutual interest" in DuVernay joining the MCU, and she's sure to be a popular choice, given the amount of critical acclaim that Selma received. However, the Marvel formula proved to be too restrictive for Patty Jenkins and Edgar Wright, so would the proudly rebellious DuVernay fare any better?
The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be in theaters May 1, 2015; Ant-Man on July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.