EXCLUSIVE: Following months of rumour and speculation, MCU Exchange is now able to exclusively report (thanks to our sources) that Ava DuVernay (Selma) has been hired by Marvel Studios to direct the upcoming Black Panther film. The Wrap first reported back in May that DuVernay was being courted by Marvel Studios for one of their upcoming “diverse” properties, meaning either Captain Marvel or Black Panther, with most assuming it was the latter (update: with Bleeding Cool later reporting that it was indeed Black Panther). Then last month, our friends over at We Are Wakanda reported that DuVernay was currently in talks with Marvel for Black Panther and that indeed the gig was hers if she wanted it. It now appears that DuVernay has agreed to bring her unique vision to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As we reported via We Are Wakanda, part of the desire to hire DuVernay this early in the process (more than three years before Black Panther‘s release date of July 6, 2018) is to have her on the set of Captain America: Civil War, which will feature the first appearance of both Black Panther and his home country of Wakanda. The only hint of possible Wakanda scenes filmed so far was a casting call sheet that made it’s way online a few weeks back, which sought African/African-American’s to serve as laboratory scientists extras. However the latest set photo from Civil War shows a building labeled Institute For Infectious Diseases (which, as we detail, is most likely set in Uganda or the previously established location of Nigeria), and so these extras are probably a part of the scenes filming there. Given the advanced technology of Wakanda, it is most likely that most if not all of the scenes set there will be filmed on green screen (in the same way scenes for Asgard are shot), so we may not be treated to any set photos of Ava DuVernay. If we’re lucky though, Marvel will make the official announcement soon and the social media savvy DuVernay may share a selfie or two with her new star Chadwick Boseman, who has yet to be spotted on set.
There’s been no word on the screenplay status since it was revealed a few years ago that documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey had been hired to pen a draft of the script, and we’ve heard that Marvel is still trying to lock down a screenwriter for the newest version. Given DuVerynay’s busy schedule and her own admitted lack of knowledge around superheroes it’s likely she won’t be principally involved in the screenwriting process, but Marvel’s obvious confidence in her vision for the film should hopefully help mean we hear more news on the screenwriting front soon. In the meantime, stay tuned to MCU Exchange for the latest in MCU news, and check back in with us this week as we feature a number of articles that go in depth about the wonderful news that is Ava DuVernay joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.