Ava DuVernay confirms Black Panther talks, then explains why she passed

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Jul 8, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT (Updated)

As "Phase Two" of its superhero movie master plan comes to a close later this month with Ant-Man, Marvel Studios is already hard at work on the films that will make up "Phase Three," which kicks off next spring with Captain America: Civil War. The third phase is the most ambitious yet, not just because it all builds to the two-part Avengers: Infinity War, but also because it's where Marvel will finally roll out the more diverse heroes fans have been clamoring for pretty much since Iron Man was a hit seven years ago. By the end of 2018, we'll have seen films starring both Black Panther and Captain Marvel, and it's very important that Marvel nail those movies so the studio can keep diversifying its superhero offerings going forward. 

Rumors have already been swirling for months about who Marvel might hire to make these films work. On the Captain Marvel side, no less a superstar than Angelina Jolie has been rumored to direct, and on the Black Panther side there's Ava DuVernay. The acclaimed director, who rose to new heights last year with the moving Selma, was first rumored as a potential Marvel director back in May, and though at the time both Captain Marvel and Black Panther were noted as possibilities, the Internet quickly zeroed in on the latter as the film DuVernay would hit out of the park. Though the rumor was persistent, no actual confirmation surfaced until DuVernay herself spoke up over the weekend. It turns out she did, indeed, meet with Marvel Studios and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, but she decided to walk away from the directing opportunity, which would've made her the first woman to direct a Marvel Studios film. 

“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.”

Marvel's taken some flack in the past from observers who cite things like the departures of Patty Jenkins (the original director for Thor: The Dark World) and Edgar Wright (who worked for years on Ant-Man) as evidence that the studios can't work with directors with unique points of view (to them I say, look at James Gunn and Guardians of the Galaxy, but whatever). DuVernay, for her part, blames no one for why it didn't work out, but does note that she's glad she didn't try to force the film to work, only to bow out later.

“I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs,” she said. “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.”

So DuVernay will go on to other great things. Meanwhile, Black Panther is still without a director. What do you think? Who would you bring in?

(Via Essence)