Black Panther director Ryan Coogler thanks fans for supporting the movie in a heartfelt letter. Every new installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has new a level of pressure and expectations to live up to. For Black Panther, the pressure came from old Hollywood myths that movies led by people of color wouldn’t sell. The expectations, meanwhile, came from the great marketing campaign and the stellar talent assembled across the board. While everyone is responsible for the final product, the majority of the results fall on the shoulders on the film’s director.

In the case of Black Panther, that goes to Ryan Coogler. The young director is on a meteoric rise through Hollywood, and Black Panther’s critical and commercial success is evidence of that. The results are so impressive that even Disney’s CEO admits they’re surprised, and as it turns out, so is Coogler.

Related: Black Panther Breaks February Opening Box Office Record

Marvel‘s social media accounts shared a letter written by Coogler in response to the overwhelming success Black Panther has experienced thus far. Just like in everything Coogler has done, the sincerity of his words shines through the letter. He realizes that none of this would’ve been possible without fans (both old and new) flocking to theaters this past weekend. Take a look:

As the release drew closer, Coogler surely knew that Black Panther was going to be a hit, but no one expected the film’s success to be this big. The start of a franchise out-grossing nearly every film ever is quite the accomplishment. It does go to show just how important the movie is as well as the hunger from people to see themselves represented on the big screen like never before. With almost $500 million already under its belt, and lacking strong competition at the box office, Black Panther‘s astounding success isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Not only will Black Panther continue to roll, but so too will Coogler’s career. After an opening of this magnitude and the raving reviews, there won’t be a gig in Hollywood Coogler can’t get. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has said he absolutely wants Coogler to direct the sequel, but whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. He could move to Star Wars or go back to the indie game next. He’d certainly get paid handsomely to return, but after not directing Creed 2, he could once again leave a promising franchise to do something new. Whatever the case may be, there’s little reason to believe Coogler won’t deliver. He does end the note by saying “Wakanda Forever,” so is that just a use of the saying or the early indication he will indeed return? If he is coming back, we could know sooner rather than later.

More: Every Record Black Panther Has Broken

Source: Ryan Coogler/Marvel

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