Ava DuVernay finally discussed all that talk about her being the frontrunner for ‘Black Panther,’ but sadly confirmed she will not be directing the highly anticipated film.
Chatting with Essence at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, DuVernay said there was some interest from both parties and she’d even met with Marvel execs to discuss their visions for the first major blockbuster starring a black superhero.
“I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther,” she said. “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 and writers and all the Marvel execs. 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.”
DuVernay was a hot and popular choice, but Marvel has other black director options out there — some of which arguably more qualified to direct a big blockbuster epic. Here’s some of the best:
Antoine Fuqua – The ‘Training Day‘ director is a frequent collaborator with Denzel Washington, having recently working with him on the well received ‘The Equalizer‘ and currently working on ‘The Magnificent Seven.’ Fuqua knows action and has experience shooting a jungle setting from his fantastic ‘Tears of the Sun.’
F Gary Gray – Gray’s stock may rise significantly depending on the buzz from ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ the fall film looking at the rise of rap group N.W.A. He’s handled action films before such as ‘The Italian Job‘ and ‘Law Abiding Citizen‘ so going the superhero route wouldn’t be that huge a stretch for him.
Reginald Hudlin – Hudlin has a bit of an edge over some of his peers as he wrote the Black Panther comic from 2005-2008 although he has primarily done sitcoms like ‘Psych,’ ‘Are We There Yet’ and ‘Marry Me.’ His lack of serious action directing experience could cost him, but shouldn’t immediately disqualify him.
Carl Franklin – Franklin has directed several episodes of the highly regarded ‘House of Cards’ and is currently working on a biopic of hip hop legend Tupac Shakur. He may not come across like an obvious choice, but Franklin is a left field option that could pay off well for Marvel.
Ernest Dickerson – Avid watchers of ‘The Walking Dead‘ are already familiar with Dickerson’s work as he directed 11 episodes from 2011-2014 including ‘Too Far Gone’ featuring the action-packed prison battle and ‘Coda‘ where the group battled the hospital crew.
Dickerson can definitely handle emotional action, which should be a core element of ‘Black Panther.’
Additionally, he’s helmed episodes of ‘Dexter,’ ‘Treme’ as well as short-lived NBC superhero show ‘The Cape.’ He’s not an obvious choice, but one that would show Marvel has an eye for on the best even if it’s not the most obvious choice. For my money, he’s the best option.