We know Marvel’s Black Panther movie has a great star. We know the filmmaker is capable and his supporting cast is, frankly, one of Marvel movies’ finest. What we don’t really know, however, is what the film is going to look or feel like.
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, with Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan at Comic-Con. Image: Disney
At San Diego Comic-Con, we spoke to Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther, to find out a bit about his vision for Wakanda. He admitted it was still something they’re working on.
“That’s a hard question to answer man because we’re still trying to figure that out,” Coogler told us. “What I will say is obviously Wakanda has to be impressive and it has to be unique and that’s one of the things we’re looking at right now. That’s one of the things we’re working with my production designer, Hannah Beachler, to try to find. Trying to find out what Wakanda is, what Wakanda looks like and how that relates to the relationship with the other technologically advanced cities that we’ve seen before in film. We’ve seen a lot of those recently. So that’s one of the biggest challenges right there.”
One thing that wasn’t a challenge was Coogler getting his friend and frequent star, Michael B. Jordan, in the film. Jordan plays Erik Killmonger, “the genius insurgent who’s destabilised Wakanda multiple times in the comics” and he’ll be the main villain.
“There wasn’t any hesitation for me to go work with one of my best friends,”Jordan told us. “[Coogler] could call me and tell me to be in a one-act play about a paper napkin and I would do it.”
Of course, had Fox’s Fantastic Four movie — where Jordon played the Human Torch — been successful enough to warrant a sequel, it’s unlikely that Jordan and Coogler would have been able to reteam for Black Panther. Instead, now Jordan has become the second Johnny Storm to go from Fox’s Marvel movies to Marvel’s Marvel movies.
“That’s a complicated question with a complicated answer,” the actor said of the transition. “But I’ve been a big fan of Marvel comic books, period, very familiar with Erik Killmonger, so to be able to lend my services to that world, regardless what’s going on on the other side of things, and the fact that it worked out, is epic. I’m really excited about it.”
Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, starts filming early next year. It will be released in the US on 16 February 2018.