Given his recent success with Creed, and creating a brand new story out of a long-running franchise, Ryan Coogler would be a very good choice to lead Marvel Studios‘ upcoming adaptation of Black Panther. That’s been the rumor the last couple of weeks anyway that Coogler was being courted by the studio to take the helm of the movie based on the African superhero, the only real name to be mentioned as director since last year when Selma director Ava DuVernay passed on the project. Today though, it’s more than rumor. Marvel Studios has confirmed that when Black Panther takes to the big screen in 2018, it will be Coogler behind the camera.
“We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family,” said producer Kevin Feige on the Marvel website. “The talents Ryan showcased in his first two films easily made him our top choice to direct Black Panther. Many fans have waited a long time to see Black Panther in his own film, and with Ryan we know we’ve found the perfect director to bring T’Challa’s story to life.”
Black Panther will see Chadwick Boseman reprise the role he will launch this summer in Captain America: Civil War. As T’Challa, king of the prosperous African nation Wakanda and inheritor of the generations old mantle of the Black Panther, Boseman will likely face off against Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw, an arms merchant already in Dutch for exploiting Wakanda’s richest resource, the metal vibranium. Serkis was introduced as Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
For Creed fans there is a downside to this. Creed 2 was just yesterday slotted for a November 2017 release date by MGM, which is about four months before the release of Black Panther making it rather impractical that Coogler will be able to direct Creed 2 (although he will likely be involved in some other capacity as a screenwriter and/or producer).
Still, what’s bad news for Creed is good news for Black Panther, who celebrates his 50th birthday this year. It was in July 1966 and Fantastic Four #52 that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced the character.
Black Panther will be in theaters everywhere on February 16, 2018.