Marvel Officially Hires Ava DuVernay to Direct Black Panther Movie – Vanity Fair
Update 3:27 P.M.: Since first posting this article, weâ€™ve revised it to reflect the unconfirmed nature of the story, on which we based ours. We’ve reached out to DuVernay and Marvel, and will update further if needed.
According to the MCU Exchange, Marvel may have made good on one of the most exciting rumors surrounding their upcoming Phase Three slate. If the unconfirmed reports are true, Ava DuVernay of Selma fame could direct Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther, Marvelâ€™s first minority-led superhero movie.
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 (sheâ€™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. In the past, Marvel has employed a wide-range of creative directorial talents from Kenneth Branagh and Shane Black to Jon Favreau and Joss Whedon. But itâ€™s only been a year since Edgar Wright left the studioâ€™s Ant-Man, a project he had been developing for the better part of a decade, over creative differences and just a few months since Whedon sounded off with remarkable candor about the â€œreally unpleasantâ€ storytelling battles he lost in making Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Since losing Wright and Whedon, Marvel has turned to directors with less stylistic flair. The Russo brothersâ€”who cut their teeth in the world of televisionâ€”were handed the keys to the large centerpiece films of Marvelâ€™s Phase Three (Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War Part I, Avengers: Infinity War Part II) without really establishing any kind of distinctive style with their first Marvel film: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Entertainment Weekly heralded this move as Marvelâ€™s â€œpivoting director strategyâ€ implying that the Avengers films, which bear the narrative burden of linking together a massive universe, donâ€™t need to be stylish, they need to be utilitarian.
But there is still hope for more creative ventures in the one-off Marvel films like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange (especially in the wake of the financial success of Marvelâ€™s off-beat Guardians of the Galaxy). Scott Derrickson of the Sinister franchise will take on Doctor Strange, presumably infusing his horror sensibilities into the Benedict Cumberbatch-led tale of mysticism and sorcery. And now we could have DuVernay, an uncompromisingly strong directorial talent, taking on Black Panther. If the comics are any indication, the story of Black Panther will take us to the fictional African nation of Wakanda where weâ€™ll see a clash between the American government (represented by Martin Freeman), white industrialists (represented by Andy Serkis), and local Wakandians (represented by Boseman) over the valuable metal Vibranium (represented by Captain Americaâ€™s shield). A struggle between the powerful and the exploited with racial overtones? Something tells me DuVernay could have more than a little to say about that. Black Panther is scheduled to be released on July 6, 2018.