Marvel zeroes in on a writer and a director for Black Panther

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Oct 6, 2015, 4:32 PM EDT

Depending on how you look at it, all of the upcoming Marvel Studios films carry very high stakes for their creators, but Black Panther is certainly among the films with the most riding on it. The film will be the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to star a black lead and, as such, it marks not only an opportunity for the studio to prove that a more diverse superhero slate can work, but also an opportunity to hire more diverse talent both in front of and behind the camera. 

Well, if you believe recent reports, Marvel is definitely taking that opportunity. Variety reports that Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray is a "contender" to helm the new film, but that might not be the most intruiging news. According to The Wrap, writer Joe Robert Cole is "nearing a deal" to write Black Panther.

Cole, who wrote and directed the thriller Amber Lake and is working on the FX series American Crime Story, is part of Marvel's writer development program, the same program that also produced Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman. Previous reports connected him to scripting duties for Marvel's Inhumans film, but The Wrap reports that, if his draft was ever completed, it won't be used for that film, Now. he seems poised to be a diverse voice for a diverse film, something Marvel definitely needs at the moment.

The Wrap's report also notes that Marvel isn't interested in hiring a director until a script is done, and specifically notes Selma director Ava DuVernay, who passed on the project, as a reason why. So, the Gray report might be premature. What is clear, though, is that Marvel is keen on supporting its black characters with black talent behind the scenes, something that the studio's been missing in many previous efforts.

(Via The Wrap)