With a movie like Black Panther, Marvel obviously wants to make sure that they “get it right.” The film is expected to be a major tentpole for the overall plot arch of Phase 3 for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and just as importantly, this is a key opportunity for the company to show their dedicated interest to diversity in their major characters. It’s no surprise, then, that we’ve heard several names bandied about to direct the film; the latest rumor is that Marvel has now officially landed on their man.
According to information provided by Heroic Hollywood, Ryan Coogler is now the director that Marvel has set its sights on. If you don’t recognize the name, you likely will soon: Coogler is trending in the right direction in terms of Hollywood prestige and seems to be on the fast track to success. The first full-length feature he directed was Fruitvale Station, which was met with great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival; he’s currently wrapping production on Creed, the Rocky Balboa spinoff.
Coogler, while an excellent director, was not Marvel’s first choice. They have offered the job to both Selma director Ava DuVernay and Straight Outta Compton helmer F. Gary Gray, but both declined to accept the job. We’ve also recently heard that the movie may have signed on it’s writer as well.
Originally slated for a July 4, 2018 release date, Marvel has readjusted their Phase 3 timeline and has now shifted Black Panther a few months earlier to a February 16, 2018 release date, which happens to coincide with Black History Month. While this slice of directorial-related info is still rumor at this point, if it does have validity to it, we will likely hear an official announcement in the coming days.