Ava DuVernay Not Directing Black Panther and More Black Panther News

Ava DuVernay is in demand after Selma received an Oscar nomination for best picture last year.  She was the favorite to direct Marvel’s Black Panther film and even president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige had stated earlier that the two side had met.  However, sadly, she posted that she will not be taking the helm of Black Panther.  Latino Review has the following statements:

“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.”

“I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs. 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. … I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it.”

There is no official synopsis yet released for the film, but here’s the character description from Wikipedia:

“The Black Panther is the ceremonial title given to the chief of the Panther Tribe of the advanced African nation of Wakanda. In addition to ruling the country, he is also chief of its various tribes (collectively referred to as the Wakandas). The Panther habit is a symbol of office (head of state) and is used even during diplomatic missions. The Panther is a hereditary title, but one still must earn it.

As chieftain, the Panther is entitled to eat a special Heart-Shaped Herb which, in addition to his mystical connection with the Wakandan Panther God, grants him superhumanly acute senses and increases his strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, and agility to Olympic-levels. His senses are so powerful that he can pick up a prey’s scent and memorize tens of thousands of individual ones. 

As king of Wakanda, the Panther has access to a vast collection of magical artifacts, advanced Wakandan technological and military hardware, as well as the support of his nation’s wide array of scientists, warriors, and mystics. The Wakandan military has been described as one of the most powerful on Earth. His attire is the sacred vibranium costume of the Wakandan Panther Cult.”

So how does Black Panther fit into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe and when will we see him?  The first nods to Black Panther and Wakanda were in Iron Man 2 when Nick Fury’s map of potential Avengers candidates that they were keeping tabs on showed the African nation of Wakanda on it and in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Ultron went to Wakanda to steal Vibranium (a fictitious metal that is supposed to be the hardest metal on earth and is what Captain America’s shield is made from) from Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis).

Before starring in his own movie in 2018, Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) will first appear in Captain America: Civil War next year.  Birth.Movies.Death posted an interview where the Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige discusses the reason for including him in the film and provide an idea for how the character might interact with the Avengers.

“The reason we introduced him in Civil War is because we needed a third party. We needed fresh eyes who wasn’t embedded with the Avengers and who has a very different point of view than either [Iron Man] or [Captain America]. We said, ‘We need somebody like Black Panther… why don’t we just use Black Panther?’ That’s how it went in the development process.”

“It is a role that he is still in the beginning phases of taking on. It’s a mantle he is only beginning to take on because his father is older.”

Wakanda is traditionally a nation in isolation.  Being one of the wealthiest countries in the world and the most scientifically advanced has allowed them to be self-sustaining, but the events of Age of Ultron may force them to venture outside their borders to maintain safety for their people.

“Today, pre-Civil War, post-Ultron I think he and his father are saying, ‘A bunch of vibranium just got out of here and wreaked a lot of havoc. Maybe we can’t stay behind these borders anymore, maybe we have to stick our heads out and make at least an attempt to be a part of the rest of the world right now, while at the same time protecting our people.’ That’s sort of where we meet him in Civil War.”

Black Panther is a major player in the comics and is a character that could easily tip the scales in Civil War depending on which side he chooses.  In the comic version, Spider-Man is the character who is at the center of the squabble and switches alliances midway causing a major shift in the war.  Many believe that since Spider-Man was only recently acquired, even though he is confirmed to appear in the film he will likely only have a small role that was written in at the last minute.  Black Panther is a possible candidate to fill Spider-Man’s role in the comics and be at the center of the conflict.

What do you think of finally getting a Black Panther film and his potential part to play in Civil War?  Who do you want to see direct Black Panther’s solo film now that Ava DuVernay is out of the running?  Captain America: Civil War arrives in theaters in the US May 6, 2016 and Black Panther opens July 6, 2018.

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