Ava DuVernay Is Rumored To Direct 'Black Panther' & If It Happens Here's What Her Version Of The Film Could Look Like
While it's not yet official, the rumors that Ava DuVernay will direct Marvel's Black Panther are getting me pretty excited. This gig would make her the first female director and Black American director to helm a Marvel film. Marvel's rumored decision to hire DuVernay would not be just a colossal step for female directors, but also for African-American storytellers other marginalize groups who voices are sorely lacking in the white washed world of Hollywood. DuVernay lending her stunning visual ascetic to a huge franchise really puts a huge crack in the status quo.
And I'm going to take this time and toot my own horn by saying that I loved Ava DuVernay long before she directed the Academy Award nominated Selma. I fell in love with her work with I saw I Will Follow in 2010 and then again with her second major feature Middle of Nowhere in 2012. Both are exceptional films about African-American women navigating relationships will trying to follow their dreams and sustain their own lives and desires. DuVernay has also been a champion of African American storytelling with her company African American Film Releasing Moment. I was thrilled for her when she was thrust on the map with Selma and even more ecstatic now that she will could be the one directing Marvel's Black Panther, if the rumors are true.
Now, I know that DuVernay isn't officially directing Black Panther (yet), but if you allow me to get a little ahead of myself, putting her on the job would ensure that we see these seven essential elements:
1. The Film Would Be Historically Authentic
Set in a fictional African country of Wakanda, much of the story will deal with Prince T'Challa's rise to power and his clashing with the American government over a precious metal called Vibranium. (The same material used in Captain America's shield.) Since western countries have been colonizing Africa for thousands of years, DuVernay will certainly acknowledge this long history, showing how detrimental it has been to the citizens of African countries.
2. The Film Will Be Diverse
Marvel has been severely lacking when it comes to diversity in its films, with both male-dominated with nearly all-white casts presiding over most of its franchises. DuVernay taking on Black Panther could change all of that. This is Marvel's opportunity at having a global superhero film, with a cast from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds. More than anything, it will be an opportunity for people of color to see superheros who actually look like them.
3. Black Panther Will Be Stunning (And Not Just Because of the Special Affects)
So often, those who direct superhero films overuse explosives and special affects. I'm sure there will be some fantastic special effects in the film; it is Marvel after all. However, if DuVernay gets behind the camera, I am hoping that a great deal of the film's beauty will come from her visual esthetic choices. Too often, we ignore the beauty of simple things like wide shots and sunlight in movies. It would be amazing if Black Panther led us back to the core of stunning filmmaking.
4. The Music Will Be Amazing
It's no wonder that the "Glory" from Selma won the Academy Award for Best Original Song this year. Clearly, DuVernay really has a knack for picking the perfect music to go along with her stories. If she gets the directing job, Black Panther should be no exception. With a vast catalog of Black music to choose from, I'm hoping to hear some old school soul tunes and some '70s funk on the soundtrack. I think we often underestimate how essential music is to our movie watching experience.
5. Black Panther Won't Have Just A "Love Interest"
One of the most aggravating things about the film industry is its use of one dimensional female love interests. So often we go to films and see a woman who exists solely for the male protagonist's gaze. Should Black Panther have a love-interest, I'm certain that potential director DuVernay would present us with a full and whole character. A woman who has her own dreams, desires and motivations outside of being T'Challa's Queen.
6. The Film Could Focus On the Splendor of Africa
Racist ideals have perpertuated the erasure of African history from the globe. In the Black Panther comics, Wakanda's technology puts the western world to shame. The film could be an opportunity for DuVernay to present the majesty of African history focusing on the richness and regal nature of Wakanda. It's an image that continues to remain absent on the big screen.
7. Black Panther Could Provide Much Needed Social Commentary
With all that has happened recently concerning race and attacks on people of color In the U.S., Black Panther needs DuVernay. She would will be able to tackle the necessary social themes in a responsible and thoughtful way that could reach millions of people across the world.
So, go ahead and hire this woman already, Marvel.
Images: Giphy (7)