Ryan Coogler confirmed as director of Marvel's Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman.

It’s Official: Ryan Coogler Will Direct Marvel’s Black Panther

It’s Official: Ryan Coogler Will Direct Marvel’s Black Panther

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Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 11 2016 10:39 PM

It’s Official: Ryan Coogler Will Direct Marvel’s Black Panther

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Ryan Coogler at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles on November 4, 2013.

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images For TheWrap

On a day in sore need of good news, Marvel, of all places, has delivered some: The studio’s confirmed that Ryan Coogler, the 29-year-old wunderkind behind Fruitvale Station and Creed, will direct its forthcoming adaptation of Black Panther.

When a director of Coogler’s caliber takes on a superhero movie, it’s easy to feel excitement give way to a vague sense of dread, a fear that, by engaging in a pas de deux with the Marvel machine, a promising artist has pledged his prime years to the production of rote action films. To wit: Ava DuVernay, who for much of 2015 seemed a lock for the Black Panther job, backed out after realizing “creative differences” would stop her from making “an Ava DuVernay film.”

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Coogler, a longtime comics fan, seems to have no such reservations, and his hiring is a huge coup for Marvel. For one, the studio is a tiny bit closer to having its films match the diversity of their source material, especially when it comes to who’s behind the camera; Coogler is the first black and second non-white man to helm a Marvel movie. (The first was Taika Waititi, the half-Maori New Zealander directing Thor: Ragnarok).

More importantly, Coogler’s talents are perfect for the material here. Black Panther looks like Marvel's most intricate superhero yet, a man with Tony Stark’s intelligence, Thor’s royal lineage, and ultra-enhanced strength, senses, and speed. Creed proved that Coogler’s eye for character development doesn’t falter in the context of big-budget filmmaking; it also proved that he has a virtuoso way with action sequences, which will come in handy when shooting a character who can walk on water, excel at a dozen martial arts, and still make time to rule an isolationist African kingdom. T'Challa should be in good hands for years to come. 

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter