Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther broke box office records and heralded the first afro-centric entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in February. The Fruitvale Station and Creed director did such a tremendous job that president of Marvel, Kevin Feige, was already voicing his desire for sequels before the film was even released. Now, it seems, Feige is being vocal about how eager the studio is to secure Coogler as the one to make them.
According to Collider, Black Panther is Marvel’s highest-grossing domestic release of all time, netting $681 million at the box office. It’s no wonder then, to have Feige—currently making the rounds as Avengers: Infinity War is days away from opening—talk publicly about the plans of his studio’s biggest new money maker. Naturally, Hollywood doesn’t let a cash cow graze idly—it makes sure to put it to good use, particularly when there’s such fervent widespread support for the property. The only question is, will Ryan Coogler return?
“We definitely want Ryan to come back, and that’s actively being worked out right now,” said Feige. “When will it be? A lot of it will be when Ryan wants to and not rushing anything, but I think we have an idea of when it will be. But, again, (we’re) not going announce any post-Avengers 4 movies until hopefully after Avengers 4, which is another reason we’re not going to Comic-Con.”
This is a slight change of pace for Marvel, as Phase 2 of the MCU saw properties like Captain America and Thor have sequels on its slate regardless of who was attached as director. Presumably, this was during a time when the MCU needed to adhere to a strict timeline and schedule to establish certain characters and flesh the universe out—while these days, the whole world is familiar with these properties, and if not, is eager to learn about them in due time. Marvel is in a beautiful place, where it can take its time to write great scripts, and not sacrifice quality for seemingly important release dates. Fortunately, Black Panther—once thought to be a gamble—has paid off immensely.
“The success of Panther is so amazing and makes us happy for so many reasons, and it certainly exceeded our lofty expectations,” said Feige. “But our expectations were always lofty, so we had built a plan, not the least of which was centering so much of Infinity War in those locations and with some of those characters, that (its success) just says, ‘Let’s stick to this plan.’ It would have been much more disruptive if it had not worked. Then we would have had to change a lot of what we were thinking about, but it really just solidifies and excites us to continue to move forward in the directions we’re heading in.”