Director Ryan Coogler has made a name himself with movies that tackled big ideas (the real-life shooting of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, the iconic Rocky franchise with Creed) and injecting them with personal pathos. Creed, for example, succeeds because it doesn’t just put a fresh face in a Rocky movie; it explores the relationship between fathers and sons, inspired by Coogler’s own life story.
Next up, Coogler will be looking to do something similar with Marvel’s Black Panther. The king of Wakanda has been a mainstay of Marvel comics for a long time (he was the company’s first mainstream black superhero), but is enjoying a mainstream breakthrough right now thanks to a scene-stealing role in Captain America: Civil War and a big-name solo comic book series from award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates. In a recent interview with Fast Company, Coogler said that despite the movie’s obligation to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s still making it personal.
“It’s a specific challenge,” Coogler said. “What Marvel’s doing, and what you see a lot of studios doing now that Marvel has done it so successfully, is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that’s a great creative challenge to me — to make this movie as personal as possible. It’s going to be my most personal movie to date, which is crazy to say, but it’s completely the case. I’m obsessed with this character and this story right now, and I think it’s going to be very unique and still fit into the overall narrative that they’re establishing. I grew up as a comic book fan, and the same things used to happen in the comic books. You’d have Wolverine’s books, and they’d be so much darker and more brutal than the X-Men books, but they’d still fit in when you open the pages of the X-Men book. It’s new to movies, but it’s not new to storytelling.”
Read the rest of the interview, in which Coogler also discusses Creed and Hamilton, here.