Potentially huge news in the Marvel Universe (and it involves Ava DuVernay)
On Monday, MCU Exchange broke the news that Ava DuVernay — director, screenwriter, and love of our lives — had officially been hired to direct the upcoming Black Panther, Marvel’s first superhero film to star a minority. The “announcement” came after months of speculation that Marvel was courting DuVernay to direct one of its highly-anticipated diverse films: Either Captain Marvel or the aforementioned Black Panther. We immediately had a fangirl freakout (because obviously), until many sources pointed out that the website’s sources were shaky at best and the “announcement” is so far unconfirmed. Marvel has yet to address the rumors, but DuVernay took to Twitter to respond in the absolute best way.
On the bright side, DuVernay doesn’t outright confirm or deny the news — so we’re holding out hope. We think DuVernay would be an invaluable addition to the Marvel Universe, and it goes without saying that she is more than qualified to direct either film. Last year, she blew everyone away with Selma, and became the first Black female director to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture. (If you haven’t seen it, please do so immediately.) This year, she was tapped to direct TV series Queen Sugar and TV movie For Justice — both of which are guaranteed to be amazing with her at the reigns.
Especially given that Marvel has come under fire for its “creatively stifling” franchises in the past, bringing someone with as strong a voice and vision as DuVernay could prove very beneficial for the studio — and downright amazing for us viewers. To give the SparkNotes version of both films, Black Panther will star Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the prince of Wakanda, who must “take the mantle of Black Panther” after his father is killed; and Captain Marvel will follow the story of Carol Danvers after she inherits super powers from an alien from the Kree empire.
If she directs either film, DuVernay would also be the first non-white and first female director to see a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to completion (Patty Jenkins was originally hired to direct Thor: The Dark World, but left the film due to creative differences). It’s no secret that lack of diversity remains a huge problem in Hollywood, and Marvel certainly isn’t immune to it. As Comic Alliance‘s Andrew Wheeler pointed out last year, “If Marvel makes Thor 3 before it makes Black Panther, it will have made 10 movies headlined by blond white men named Chris before it makes one movie headlined by someone who isn’t even white.” (FYI, Thor: Ragnarok is slated to come out in 2017, and Black Panther in 2018.)
According to a from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, minorities directed only 17.8% of films examined from 2013, and women a mere 6.3%. (There weren’t any specific call-outs for minority female directors — but we can only imagine that the numbers were abysmal and/or nonexistent.) These voices — our voices — matter now more than ever, and the only way they will be heard is through representation.
At the very least, Marvel is finally trying to change its tune, both on screen and behind the scenes. According to a piece from The Wrap earlier this year, “Marvel is intent on hiring an African-American director for Black Panther and a female filmmaker for Captain Marvel” — and our vote is definitely with DuVernay for both. Here’s hoping the rumors are officially confirmed soon.
(Image via Instagram.)