Credit: Marvel Entertainment/Getty Images

Marvel’s Black Panther has found its director.

Ryan Coogler — whose Rocky sequel Creed earned rave reviews, some $119 million at the box office, and a Golden Globe for Sylvester Stallone — has been tapped to direct the superhero movie.

Black Panther will star Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous Black Panther, also known as T’Challa, prince of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Boseman will debut as the character in Marvel’s forthcoming tentpole movie Captain America: Civil War, in theaters May 6.

News broke last month that Coogler was in talks to direct; Marvel made the official announcement on its website Monday.

“We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family,” producer Kevin Feige said in a statement. “The talents Ryan showcased in his first two films easily made him our top choice to direct Black Panther. Many fans have waited a long time to see Black Panther in his own film, and with Ryan we know we’ve found the perfect director to bring T’Challa’s story to life.”

Before the Michael B. Jordan-starring Creed, Coogler made his feature debut in 2013 with Fruitvale Station, a biographical drama about Oscar Grant (also played by Jordan), a young father who was shot by a BART police officer in Oakland, California, in 2009. The film was a critical darling and festival favorite.

Marvel’s choice to have Coogler helm its movie about one of comics’ first black superheroes earned the praise of Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn, who tweeted, “Creed might be my very favorite film of the year so I’m incredibly stoked.” Selma director Ava Duvernay also posted her congratulations: “Typing this from the box office. Ready to buy my tix! Bravo, @Kevfeige + @Marvel team. Go, Ryan! #takemywholewallet.”

Duvernay passed on Black Panther last summer, saying at the time, “In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.” As for Coogler, it seems superhero stories have been a point of interest since childhood.

“I was definitely one of this kids that had a comic-book collection,” Coogler told EW in October. “I was in the comic-book store quite a bit. So those types of films are etched into me because I have a familiarity with them. … When a filmmaker brings them an idea that’s deeply personal to him, that’s when those [big] movies work.”

Black Panther
Directed by Ryan Coogler, the 2018 superhero film is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the king who rules over the Afrofuturist paradise of Wakanda.
  • Movie
  • 135 minutes
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