Two weeks ago, the Internet went on high alert with misleading news of Ava DuVernay’s apparent job offer to direct Marvel’s Black Panther flick.
However, that was not the case. DuVernay nor Marvel’s Kevin Feige confirmed the hire. “There are a lot of fans hoping that she will get the job, but at this time, there is only known information about meetings with multiple directors, not just DuVernay, ” a Blerds report said.
“It wasn’t for me. I loved exploring it. I loved the character. I love that they called me about it, but ultimately, when I delved into it, it wasn’t a good match, so I wish them luck.” DuVernay told The Huffington Post last week at the Essence Music Festival.
Marvel’s reputation for not giving auteurs the creative breathing room necessary to work continues to grow. Director Edgar Wright was a prime example. He left the upcoming Ant-Man film, a film he pitched and wanted to work on at Marvel but left due to creative differences, opening the door for director Peyton Reed.
Joss Whedon has also reported that Avengers: Age of Ultron is his last Marvel film.
However, the Marvel machine keeps on trucking and so does DuVernay. She has two projects in the early stages of development that should appease her fans. A scripted drama for the OWN network and a Hurricane Katrina love story starring David Oyelowo are all slated for future release.
All of this week there has been news that Ava DuVernay has been chosen to direct the Black Panther feature film. In fact, she has been meeting with Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, about the job, but no one has confirmed it. DuVernay has yet to confirm nor has Feige or any other official Marvel representative.
“The DuVernay choice could be great news for the future of the Marvel franchise not only because of the more diverse perspective she could bring to the table (she’d be the first non-white, non-male director to see a Marvel film to its completion), but also because in hiring someone with such strong vision, Marvel could combat accusations that its lucrative franchise is a creatively stifling place for directors,” according to writer Joanna Robinson for Vanity Fair.
There are a lot of fans hoping that she will get the job, but at this time, there is only known information about meetings with multiple directors, not just DuVernay.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Feige was asked if Marvel has chosen a director for the upcoming Black Panther and Captain Marvel films, and he says:
“I think by the end of the summer, we’ll have most of those things. Black Panther especially.”
There is still a great amount of speculation and anticipation on who will get to direct the Black Panther film, but until it comes directly from Feige, we will not know for sure.
Notable Works: Black Nativity (2013), Eve’s Bayou (1997), Talk to Me (2007)
Impact: She has been an actress and director working in the industry since the 1990s. She has only directed five titles to date, but her film Eve’s Bayou helped launch the career of actress Jurnee Smollett. Her films have won awards on the independent film circuit.
Notable Works: Elementary (2013-present), Shameless (2011-present)
Impact: Hamri is a native of Morocco who has created an impressive career as a TV and film director. She has directed the hit films Just Wright (2010), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) and Something New (2006).
DuVernay is obviously one of the first directors to come to mind, and it’s not just because of her recent sweep of award season nominations. DuVernay’s Selma proved that she has the ability to navigate the complexities of the ever-present humanity that still lies behind a great hero, and that’s going to be key when it comes to Marvel’s Black Panther film. “Selma showed her ability to deconstruct the myth of a heroic figure like Martin Luther King and reveal his humanity,” The Mary Sue wrote of the director. “And not only does she reveal the man behind the legend, she shows how much the man who helped shape a movement could leave such a powerful legacy that would be elevated to mythical status. The tension between the man and the mythos is at the heart of most successful superhero stories, and is particularly crucial for the Black Panther, who is not simply a costumed crusader but a leader of a nation.”
Coogler has actually emerged as a crowd favorite on many online forums and in some social media circles. Coogler is the man responsible for capturing the emotionally charged, politically compelling social commentary that was present throughout Fruitvale Station. The film captured the tragic and heartbreaking story of Oscar Grant, the unarmed Black father who was fatally shot by a BART police officer in Oakland, California. “Coogler’s exploration of police violence avoids being simply a preachy drama focusing on a tragic moment in recent history,” The Mary Sue explains. “Instead, it is a deeply moving character study whose protagonist is far more than just a tragic victim, depicted as a deeply sympathetic and fallible human being who is instantly relatable.” That ability to leave the “preachy” approach behind while still pulling key social commentary and controversial discussions to light is exactly what Black Panther’s director would need to possess.