The director of Black Panther has welcomed the idea of a sequel built around its strong female characters.Ryan Coogler’s hit superhero film drew praise for its depiction of highly capable African women who act as warriors, spies and gadget makers.
Coogler said his film’s female stars could “easily carry their own movie” and that he would happily watch it.”If an opportunity like that came up, that would be amazing,” he told an audience at the Cannes Film Festival.In Black Panther, a newly appointed king called T’Challa juggles his duties as king of a fictional African country with masked crime-fighting.He is assisted, and at one point has his life saved, by characters played by Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and British newcomer Letitia Wright.”One of my favourite parts of my movie is where T’Challa is out of the picture and you’re following the women,” said Coogler.”I didn’t expect that. In that part of the movie, you feel you’re watching something fresh and new and exciting.”
California native Coogler has already made 2013 drama Fruitvale Station and Rocky sequel Creed when he was approached by Marvel to direct Black Panther.The 31-year-old said he was surprised to go for a meeting with the comic book giant and be introduced to an African-American executive.”I didn’t know there were any black people working at Marvel,” he recalled saying to Nate Moore, Black Panther’s executive producer.”Oh no, there are plenty of us,” came Moore’s response.
Coogler, the youngest film-maker to direct a Marvel feature, is also notable for having female directors of photography on all his feature films to date.Earlier this year Rachel Morrison, who worked on both Fruitvale Station and Black Panther, became the first female cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar.Speaking on Thursday, though, Coogler insisted it was “not something to brag about” and that Morrison had been “the best DP he could get at the time”.”I thought I was getting someone amazing, but she turned out to be phenomenal in every way,” he said.
The director also lavished praise on France’s Maryse Alberti, who was hired to shoot Creed after Morrison became pregnant.A sequel to Black Panther has yet to be announced, though Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege said last month he “definitely” wanted Coogler to direct it.Christopher Nolan and John Travolta are also giving talks during this year’s festival, which runs until 19 May.