While she may have been an Internet front-runner for the directing job for Marvel‘s upcoming Black Panther in 2018, over the weekend, Ava DuVernay (Selma) confirmed to Essence that she won’t be behind the camera. Everyone on the Internet seemed to think this was a lock, and there are some sites that must be wagging fingers at their “unnamed sources” close to the production, or just backpedaling from their “prediction” to save a little face. She did meet with Marvel, more than once. So what went wrong?
While accepting the McDonald’s 365 Award at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, DuVernay confirmed that talks took place, and that things didn’t quite work out the way everyone wanted.
I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther. I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.
I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs. In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.
That was most likely the smart move on DuVernay’s part. Marvel is pretty finicky about the way things get done and the direction their movies take. If DuVernay had taken the job and then bailed, it wouldn’t have looked good for wither parties.
It also wouldn’t have been the first time it happened. Back in 2011 Patty Jenkins left the Thor: The Dark World’s production and then, in a much more publicized manner, Edgar Wright and Marvel came to a head over creative differences that lead to Wright’s departure from Ant-Man. A movie he had worked almost eight years on.
Perhaps that message is finally sinking in for the directing community. If you can’t see eye to eye right off, don’t think that Marvel will cave and let you do things your way.
That doesn’t mean that DuVernay isn’t interested in the project or is angry at Marvel. In fact she says:
I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it.
Well, now the question turns to who might direct Black Panther?