Well, it’s officially time to put those rumors about an Ava DuVernay-directed Black Panther to bed. Despite recent reports that the Selma helmer would be bringing the king of Wakanda to the big screen, the director herself has announced that that’s not the case. While she does say that she met with Marvel for the project, she won’t be signing on for the gig due to differing creative visions for the superhero blockbuster.
This isn’t all too surprising, as DuVernay’s resume doesn’t immediately point to the big spectacle that comes with such a project. She dropped the news during an interview with Essence magazine, citing that, while she’s a big fan of Marvel, she just wasn’t the right fit:
“I guess I’ll declare my independence from this rumor on 4th of July weekend and Essence weekend! I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther. I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. 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. I loved meeting Chadwick Boseman and writers and all the Marvel execs. In the end, it comes down to a story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.”
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We’ve seen several directors leave superhero projects for that very reason. Marvel lost Patty Jenkins over behind-the-scenes struggles for Thor: The Dark World, and Warner Brothers recently parted ways with Michelle MacLaren for similar reasons regarding Wonder Woman (ironically, Jenkins is now attached to bring that particular superhero to the silver screen).
DuVernay was arguably a wrong fit for the Marvel machine, though it’s disappointing that we won’t see what she would have done with the character. Still, she likely has a long, great career ahead of her, and Marvel likely needed her more than she needed Marvel.
Now that the door has closed on this rumor, we’ll keep you updated on any new updates regarding the Black Panther director search as they become available. Perhaps Dope helmer Rick Famuyiwa is next to bat?