Marvel Studios has quite a large task on its hands in bringing the first African superhero to their cinematic universe. Black Panther is the studio's most well-known minority character and his story is both fascinating in scope and one of Marvel's most challenging heroes to adapt for the big screen.
T'Challa is Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional country in the Marvel universe which is also home to the most precious metal in the world, vibranium. The country leads an intentionally isolated existence and also has the most scientifically advanced civilization on Earth. However they still keep their tribal traditions, customs, and clothing, which could invite scrutiny, if it isn't in the hands of a capable and educated director.
A couple of weeks ago reports broke that director Ava DuVernay was picked to direct Black Panther by Marvel and that negotiations were in progress. It turns out that the story was indeed true, however this one doesn't have a happy ending. DuVernay announced at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans that she has decided to opt out of directing the upcoming Marvel epic. Here is what she had to say.
“I guess I'll declare my independence from this rumor on 4th of July weekend and Essence weekend! 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...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.”
This is an unfortunate blow for Marvel who has recently received a string of harmful press, for a series of dissolved relationships with directors. In the past year they have had to deal with the aftermath of Edgar Wright's departure and Joss Whedon's less than graceful exit during the release of [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035). With that in mind, DuVernay's calculated announcement during the holiday weekend was a classy move meant to lessen the negative publicity for Marvel.
The exact "story and perspective" issues that they couldn't see eye-to-eye on are unknown. However, Black Panther's story about an isolated fictional African country, which holds resources that the world covets, treads dangerously close to real world history and politics. This may be the first movie in Marvel's lineup that demands an auteur's vision. Warner Bros. is taking that approach for the most part in designing their cinematic universe for DC Comics' characters and it has resulted in some of the top creative minds in Hollywood latching on to projects, such as James Wan, Chris Terrio, Chris Miller and Phil Lorde. Hopefully DuVernay's interest in a superhero project results in another comic based film for her further down the road.
It is not clear who else is on Marvel's list of possible replacements. There had been reports that Dope's Rick Famuyiwa had been meeting with Marvel in May about the project, but little else is known currently. What is clear is that they are looking to get a director in the fold, so we should be hearing about possible replacement candidates soon.
Black Panther will hit theaters on July 6, 2018.
Source: Point of Geeks