Should Marvel keep Ryan Coogler for Black Panther 2?


Marvel’s got a track record of keeping good directors on their movie franchises. This might be good news for Ryan Coogler and Black Panther 2.

After fans see Black Panther for a second and maybe even third time, the only other movie we’d want to see next is Black Panther 2, naturally. We know it might be a little early to start speculating about the film’s sequel, but there is a lot to be left to the imagination right now. Specifically, will Ryan Coogler be back to take on Black Panther 2?

Marvel Studios is showing it can build a stable relationship with its directors for now; a couple directors have come back to continue doing more films in the MCU. That could be good for Coogler right off that bat, but let’s lay out what’s worked for Marvel before, and maybe didn’t work so well to see how Coogler might fare when it comes to the Black Panther sequel. 

Directors that do well get to stay

It’s easy to say that Marvel has definitely got this whole director thing figured out as we reach the end of Phase 3. James Gunn and the Russo Brothers are the proof in the pudding. Gunn’s led Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and each of those movies were a massive success. Given the relatively unknown nature of the Guardians team, Gunn worked somewhat of a miracle to take the comic series and spin it into a $700 million franchise. And with Vol. 3 on the way, that’s likely to push to it to $1 billion overall.

Joe and Anthony Russo have also become Marvel Studios kings with their success in directing Captain America: Winter Soldier and its sequel, Captain America: Civil War — where we get our first glimpse of Black Panther in action.

Take this case study as an example of Marvel knowing its directors: In 2012, the first Avengers movie blew all of the other MCU movies out of the water (and is still the top-grossing Marvel movie at the time of posting) thanks to Joss Whedon. But by 2015’s Age of Ultron — with plot lines like a Hulk/Black Widow romance and stay-at-home-dad Hawkeye — it was clear Whedon had to give up his Avengers crown. To be fair, Whedon explained he left Marvel for creative differences, but the clash definitely shows in the film. So Marvel gladly handed Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4 to the Russo Brothers because, hey, they know what they’re doing.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 29: Writer/director Ryan Coogler (L) and director Taika Waititi at the Los Angeles World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER at Dolby Theatre on January 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

And the list goes on: Jon Favreau with the first two Iron Man movies and Peyton Reed with the Ant-Man movies. To think, it took Marvel two tries before it could finally nail a great Thor movie (all praise to Taika Waititi) just as the fate of another Thor standalone movie is left unknown.

So this should go without saying to Marvel: when a good thing comes your way, hold on and don’t let go. And Coogler is Good with a capital G.

Ryan Coogler knows what he’s doing

Shout out to Coogler who has made three — just three — feature films in his career so far, and each has been a shining success. In 2013, Coogler came out with his telling of the Oscar Grant shooting in Fruitvale Station starring Michael B. Jordan. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival before it ultimately made it to theaters everywhere. Then in 2015, he and Jordan were back for the Rocky sequel, Creed, which earned a 95 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

And now that bring us to Black Panther, a film that broke box office records before it was even released. Weeks later, and the film is smashing records left and right.

But money isn’t the only defining factor in the film’s success. The big picture shows a movie that’s culturally in touch and isn’t afraid to explore a world long left out of cinematic history. Coogler masterfully put together a movie that celebrates the African diaspora and let them celebrate the film with it. Each role was cast wonderfully, and every character had something exciting to bring to the table. Without a doubt, Ryan Coogler knows how to make a darn great movie.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 05: Director Ryan Coogler arrives at the red carpet of the Seoul premiere of ‘Black Panther’ on February 5, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images for Disney)

Coogler’s already got the Kevin Feige seal of approval as a prospective director for the sequel, so that’s pretty much means he should have this in the bag.

If not, Marvel runs the risk of uncertainty for the next film. The studio could have a Star Wars problem on its hands like with the most recent line of movies: where Rian Johnson has left a middle-child movie in such a state for Episode VII and IX director JJ Abrams to save by the last installment. Luckily, Marvel has at least had the smarts to avoid the DC cinematic universe problem, where director Zack Snyder was given perhaps too much control to create a succession of semi-exciting movies.

Black Panther film with a new director could make the money, but would fans like it with a different director? That would be the risk Marvel runs.

Next: When does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 come out?

To put it plainly, Ryan Coogler would make a great director for Black Panther 2. And judging by how Marvel likes to keep its best players at hand, this should be a no-brainer for Marvel Studios as well. Coogler should be here to stay.