February 16th, 2018 will see the release of the one of the most anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe films – Black Panther. Hailing from the fictional African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa has been appearing in comic continuity since 1966.
As the MCU has grown larger in size, scale, and characters, many fans have been chomping at the bit to see that great vibranium uniform on the silver screen. As most know, the character will make his debut in Captain America: Civil War portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, followed by his solo film.
With one of Panther’s antagonists being introduced in Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Ulysses Klaw) this has the potential to be an amazing film for Marvel and casual fans alike. That potential can only be accessed and utilized through a skilled director that can deal with the many themes this character presents, which the following can handle with ease.
5. Denzel Washington
Okay. Yes, he’s one of the biggest stars in the world, but can you think of someone better to helm this film? He could also potentially play T’Chaka and pull a Ben Affleck ala direct and star. The films he’s directed as well as starred in (starred: Glory, Training Day, The Hurricane – directed: Antowne Fisher, The Great Debaters) line up within the realm of themes and emotion that Black Panther evokes.
Why he might do it: it’s something different in his career, allowing him take on a new challenge and would be the first superhero type film that also satisfies the current action kick he’s on.
Why he wouldn’t: He’s one of the biggest stars in the world. That said, he might have trouble playing in Marvel’s sandbox.
4. Paul Greengrass
A long shot to happen, but he’s still a good fit. This writer agrees with Anthony Mackie’s recent comments that this film’s director doesn’t have to be black to make a great film. Paul Greengrass has made some of the best films of the last 10 years and that shouldn’t have to be mentioned when talking about him.
With his action chops being honed on the Bourne series and drama with Captain Phillips, this is one director that could be a boon for Marvel. Greengrass was even working on the MLK, Jr. biopic Memphis before it fell through. If that doesn’t make sense for Black Panther’s foray to the big screen, I don’t know what does.
Why he might do it: an opportunity to tell a different story, channelling what he lost on Memphis into a different kind of film.
Why he wouldn’t: He has mainly told stories that aren’t outside of the realm of possibility.
3. Paris Barclay
We all know Marvel is known for some risky choices as far as directors. I could have never seen Taika Waititi coming for Thor: Ragnarok, but hey – it happened! If you’ve never heard of Paris Barclay, you’ve undoubtedly seen some of his outstanding television work if you’ve watched Sons of Anarchy, Glee, The Mentalist, House, CSI and more. In fact, many of the episodes of these series have gone on to be nominated for Emmys or always mentioned in “Best Of…” lists you always see on Twitter or Facebook.
A TV veteran, Barclay is well-known in the industry for his gift of being able to work within many genres and pull the best of what is needed out of his actors, both needed for a Marvel film.
Why he might do it: making a stamp on a blockbuster.
Why he wouldn’t: he’s fine sticking with television. He also may be too busy working on The Bastard Executioner.
2. Rick Famuyiwa
Rick Famuyiwa may not be a big name director, but as we’ve repeatedly seen with Marvel – you don’t need to be. Having directed this year’s Sundance darling, Dope – it was a coming of age story that combined elements of comedy, drama and crime while touching on race and social issues that would serve a Black Panther film well.
Famuyiwa has also directed The Wood, wrote Talk To Me and will helm Confirmation (hello, politics) for HBO. If he directed Black Panther, I have a feeling we’d be talking about it in the same way we talk about Guardians, Iron Man or Winter Soldier.
Why he might do it: The ability to tell a super-hero film that touches upon race and political commentary.
Why he wouldn’t: Not saying it’s not possible, but BP might not be the film he’s looking to make a statement with.
1. Ryan Coogler
The new kid on the block compared to the veterans on this list, doesn’t mean he’s any less experienced. Bursting on the scene with the AMAZING Fruitvale Station and following it up with the Rocky spin-off Creed later this month, he would be the perfect fit to bring T’Challa to the screen.
Fruitvale possessed a raw, gritty nature but still presented a tragic story through the lens of social commentary that would make BP that much better, depending on the script of course. Being suddenly thrust in the spotlight and having such skill at a young age, he could naturally relate to the BP story as well. A fan favorite, he is exactly what Marvel looks for in a director and this film is only the next logical step for Coogler. He’s also a comic book fan!
Why he might do it: To take that next big step into becoming a ‘name’ director and the next step in his career.
Why he wouldn’t: The pressure of directing a blockbuster may not be attractive. Also he might want to continue doing his own thing.
Honorable mention – In no particular order, here are some other directors that could pull off this film:
- Ed Zwick
- Reginald Hudlin
- F. Gary Gray
- Kathryn Bigelow
- Justin Simien
- Mara Brock & Salim Akil
Regardless of the future director’s race and experience level, I am looking forward to finally getting a film about this spectacular character. Let’s hope BP comes out as his many stories are; inspiring, topical, and wondrous.