Two years from now we will be only days away from Black Panther hitting theaters. Marvel has previously received some criticism for the lack of diversity within the MCU, but this film is helping to change that. Chadwick Boseman is making his debut as T’Challa aka Black Panther in this May’s Captain America: Civil War before going on to star in 2018’s Black Panther.
And most recently, Ryan Coogler was confirmed as the director based on a script currently being written by Joe Robert Cole. Cole recently talked to Mother Jones about the process of joining the movie, staying true to the culture and comic, as well as reflecting society.
Cole has previous experience with Marvel going through their writers program. This connection gave him a foot in the door that helped him eventually land the job.
Having gone through the [Marvel] writer program, I knew Black Panther was in the pipeline and I knew they were big fans of my writing. But I had to compete with the other writers who were put up for it—no one hands out jobs.
It familiarized Marvel with my work and with me as a person. Being able to interact with [studio president] Kevin Feige and have him know who I am and know me as a person, and be able to then sit down and have a conversation about story with someone who’s familiar and comfortable is invaluable.
As an African American, Cole understands just how important it is for them to get Black Panther right the first time around.
Black Panther is a historic opportunity to be a part of something important and special, particularly at a time when African Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization. The image of a black hero on this scale is just really exciting.
Not only do Cole, Coogler, and Marvel have to get the character of Black Panther himself right, but they also have to figure out the correct way to portray the entire culture of Wakanda. While Cole couldn’t reveal too much regarding his take on Wakanda, he did stress that he knows the culture is important.
We’re in the process of figuring many of those things out. I think approaching the movie from a perspective that is rooted in the cultures of the continent is important.
In terms of his culture, we’re thinking about where we are locating Wakanda within the continent, and what the people and history of that region are like. It’s a process of investigation to help inform the story at this point. But we are going to be engaged with consultants who are experts on the continent and on African history and politics.
There have been plenty of social movements over the last year to try and bring more awareness to equal rights, cop brutality, and more. The team around Black Panther understand what is happening and hope to address some of these issues in a few years.
Personally—and Ryan [Coogler] and Nate Moore, the executive producer—we all are cognizant of what’s going on in the world, in black communities, and in our country. We are aware of the importance of that, and the platform this movie provides us with. But I can’t give you the specifics.
Cole was also asked about the possibility of people being turned off from seeing the movie because of having a black lead. This is an absurd concept in and of itself, and one that he dismissed as well.
I don’t think so. There is a huge fan base for the Black Panther comic and for Marvel as a whole. And I think there is great anticipation across the board for the movie. I think that’s how Marvel is approaching it and I know that’s how I’m approaching it. I imagine Ryan feels the same way.
Black Panther is scheduled to hit theaters February 16, 2018.
Source: Mother Jones.