Marvel fans strongly believed that “Selma” director Ava DuVernay would be taking the reins on the upcoming superhero flick, “Black Panther.” However, the 42-year-old confirmed to Essence Magazine that she decided to pass on the Chadwick Boseman-starring film.
“I guess I’ll declare my independence from the rumor on 4th of July weekend and Essence Weekend!” DuVernay said at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Friday. The director was on hand to accept the McDonald’s 365 Award. “I’m not signing on to direct ‘Black Panther.’ ”
Rumors have been circulating for months that DuVernay would be bringing the story of the T’Challa, aka the Black Panther, to life. So why did she part ways with Marvel? Blame it on creative differences.
“I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be,” she continued. “Marvel has a certain way of doing things, and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.”
DuVernay added that although she met with Chadwick Boseman and the “Black Panther” writers, she just “didn’t see eye to eye” about the “story and perspective.”
“Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later,” she concluded.
For those unfamiliar with the Marvel character, T’Challa was created by writer Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966. First appearing in Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #52, the Black Panther is from the fictional nation of Wakanda and has super senses, strength and speed. He gained his powers from eating a special heart-shaped herb.
According to ComicBook.com, the nation of Wakanda was supposed to be introduced in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as a way to set the stage for Black Panther. Wakanda is known for its strong metal, Vibranium -- the same material that Captain America’s (Chris Evans) shield is made of. Villain Ultron was going to go to Wakanda to get his hands on Vibranium, however director Joss Whedon ultimately decided to have Ultron buy the metal at a South African shipyard.
Although DuVernay is not locked in, Black Panther is still moving forward at Marvel. Boseman is set to make his first appearance as T’Challa in “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016. As for a director for the first black superhero movie? Latino Review writer Umberto Gonzalez hinted that “Dope” director Rick Famuyiwa is in the running for the job.
“Black Panther” is set to hit theaters in July 2018.