About two weeks ago, I nearly wrote a story about how Ava DuVernay, the award-winning director of Selma, would be directing Marvel’s Black Panther. Nearly. Despite some big publications running with the story as official, the source was regular rumour-mongers MCU Exchange – who actually have nothing to do with Marvel officially despite their name, a fact that these publications seemingly overlooked. We had heard the rumours previously, and DuVernay made a lot of sense – ground-breaking black female director helming an adaptation of the ground-breaking first mainstream black superhero to headline a comic book – but I decided to hold off until something was official. Good thing I did.
Speaking to Essence, DuVernay has now revealed that while the rumours were true and Marvel was interested in her for the gig, she actually passed on directing Black Panther.
“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.”
It seems that things actually got a bit further than just reaching out though, as Marvel seemingly brought her in to meet the principal players of the movie, including star Chadwick Boseman, who will be playing Prince T’Challa aka Black Panther. But in the end though it wasn’t enough, and DuVernay would rather nip proceedings in the bud now and not build up people’s hopes only to have them dashed later.
“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.”
While they may not see eye to eye, DuVernay still wishes for good things for the Marvel production though.
“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.”
Now DuVernay wasn’t the only name thrown out when the rumours initially broke about DuVernay’s possible involvement in Black Panther. It was reported at the time that Marvel – who are apparently intent on hiring a black director for the gig for obvious reasons – had also been looking at Rick Famuyiwa, the young director behind the recent film festival smash hit Dope. With DuVernay officially out of the picture, could he be the one to guide us through the nation of Wakanda? We’ll have to wait and see.
Black Panther is only scheduled for release on July 6, 2018, but Chadwick Boseman will actually be making his Marvel Cinematic Universe on-screen debut way before that in May 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Whether he shows up there in his civilian guise as Prince T’Challa or whether he suits up as Black Panther is still unknown.
Last Updated: July 6, 2015