Marvel Studios Hires Its First Black Director

Creed filmmaker Ryan Coogler will direct the 2018 superhero movie Black Panther.

Ryan Coogler, the celebrated filmmaker of 2015's Creed and 2013's Fruitvale Station, will direct Black Panther, Marvel Studios' first feature film starring a black character, the studio announced Monday.

Coogler had reportedly been in talks for the job since early December, after Creed's strong box office debut over Thanksgiving weekend revitalized the moribund Rocky franchise. The 29-year-old filmmaker is the first black director to helm a Marvel Studios feature film, a notable achievement given the dearth of minority filmmakers afforded the opportunity to make mega-budgeted, franchise studio movies.

Marvel, part of the Walt Disney Company, has made a visible effort of late to increase the diversity of its slate of films, and the filmmakers behind them. In April 2015, the studio hired Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) to write the screenplay for Captain Marvel, featuring the studio's first female title superhero. And in October 2015, Taika Waititi (What We Do In the Shadows), a New Zealand filmmaker of Māori descent, landed the directing job for Thor: Ragnarok.

Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up) will first play Black Panther — also know as T'Challa, the king of the (fictional) African nation of Wakanda — in May's Captain America: Civil War; Black Panther is scheduled to open on Feb. 16, 2018.

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