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It’s Official: Ryan Coogler Is Directing ‘Black Panther’

After months of rumors and even a false confirmation or two, it’s official: Marvel has hired Ryan Coogler to direct Black Panther.  Many were wondering what direction the Creed filmmaker might take for his next project.  Would he go Marvel?  Would he direct the also just-announced Creed 2?  Or would he do something entirely different.  As they say, knowing is half the battle and now we know.

Black Panther is scheduled to hit theaters nationwide on February 16th, 2018.  That’s right smack dab in the middle of Black History Month and a little over two years from now.  The film will, of course, see Chadwick Boseman reprise the titular role of Black Panther, also known as Prince T’Challa of Wakanda, from Captain America: Civil War, which hits theaters in less than four months.  Black Panther will be the last film in Phase Three that we get before the first installment of the two-part Avengers: Infinity War hits screens.  Much like Thor: Ragnarok, it’s sure to be a large piece of the puzzle before Thanos comes a-knockin’ on Planet Earth’s cosmic doors in May 2018.

“We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family,” said producer Kevin Feige.  “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.”

While he had been in talks for a long time, there was no guarantee he would take the job.  After all, F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) was in the same position not long ago and ultimately opted for the director’s chair on Fast & Furious 8 instead.  Many directors met for this film, from the likes of Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) to Carl Franklin (Devil In A Blue Dress) to Ava DuVernay (Selma) to Lee Daniels (The Butler).  Some made it farther in the process than others, but in the end, it was Coogler who finally went the distance.

This is a huge get for Marvel, especially in light of other studios attempting to woo Coogler.  It will be very interesting to see what he brings to the table in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  This announcement now leaves Captain Marvel and Inhumans as the only remaining Phase Three films without directors attached (or at least in negotiations), although at this point, many are expecting Adam McKay to help the latter.  Might we see one or both positions filled before Civil War hits theaters?

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