Writer/Director at the Helm
Writer-director Ryan Coogler is known for his intimate character-driven
catapulted him to the forefront of the indie film world in 2013 with his
drama "Fruitvale Station," starring Michal B. Jordan. Coogler's follow-up film
"Creed," again with Michael B. Jordan and also with Sylvester Stallone, cemented
reputation as a filmmaker who excelled with challenging, multi-layered material.
"Ryan Coogler is an unbelievable filmmaker," comments producer Kevin Feige.
already made two films that, I believe, will stand the test of time. The fact
that he was as
excited and passionate about jumping into this storyline as we were was amazing
His early thoughts and ideas really reinvigorated us with the possibilities for
For Coogler, talking with Kevin Feige was a meeting of minds that also
attracted" him to the prospect of taking on "Black Panther." "Kevin is somebody
you could tell really loves what he does," says Coogler. "Kevin has a really
clear vision of
what this universe means in pop culture and in the industry and what it could
do. He's a
big-picture guy, but at the same time he can go from big picture to character
and what's important in a heartbeat."
While Coogler's filmmaking credentials impressed Feige and the Marvel
the self-avowed fan boy and longtime "Black Panther" fan also possessed a deep
passion and drive to embark on the journey to bring the world of Wakanda to the
screen. That journey began with the screenplay, which he wrote with Joe Robert
Describing their initial approach to drafting the story, Coogler says, "We
everything. Everything was fair game. It's such a rich history there, with Black
and publishing. He's one of those characters that does a good job of building
off of what
the last custodian of the story did. You see certain writers come on board and
certain things about Wakanda, or certain characters, and you see those
over and grow under the care of other writers. So, we looked at that."
Coogler and Cole also found that Black Panther's appearance in "Captain
War" was "a great jumping off point." Coogler explains, "I would say that Cap's
and Black Panther's universe are closely related. Some writers in the past
hinted at that
more than others."
He adds, "But you have the vibranium connection and you have the super
connection. Captain America tends to be a character who's easily defined. For
Cap it is
black and white; there's right and there's wrong. He's a soldier. Whereas Black
exists in the gray area. In addition to being a soldier, he has a more important
is a politician. He's this monarch whose world is extremely complicated. He's
making these choices in the fog of politics and in the fog of war."
As fantastical as the world of Wakanda is, the writing team made sure that
the mystical and the technological influences in the country's culture were
in the real world with relatable characters to allow the audiences to take in a
yet remarkable experience.
For Coogler, the film is about Black Panther but equally about the proud
Wakanda and its people. "We'll see T'Challa's friends, people who he grew up
people who he's responsible for, people he has to answer to when he's sitting on
throne," comments the director. "And all of that is extremely important. We
wanted Wakanda to feel like a real place, in the same way that it is when you
New Yorker. Maybe you have never been to New York before, but you get a sense of
what New York is like through the people.
"So audiences have already met somebody who's from Wakanda and who represents
Wakanda, but they haven't been there, so we're going to drop them right off at
zero in this film. And they will have more understanding about how and why
the things he did in 'Civil War,' and why he moved the way he moved," concludes
Beyond eye-popping visuals, memorable characters and Black Panther's
lie the unexpected thriller elements surrounding T'Challa's introspection and
how to best lead his kingdom. Should Wakanda remain cloaked in obscurity for
millennia or thrust into the scrutiny of the international political stage?
Whether on his
own terms or having his hand forced by outside influences, T'Challa faces the
Says Coogler of his and Cole's intent to craft a realistic story of
as King and as Black Panther, "T'Challa is dealing with the loss of his father
on a personal
level. But he's also dealing with it on a professional level. He just got the
promotion of his life. A whole nation of people are looking at him for what to
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