Ryan Coogler Is Developing a Series About Wakanda for Disney+
The Black Panther creator has new partnerships with Disney+ in the works
When Black Panther came out in February 2018, it was an instant hit.
As part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film's success was expected, but helmed by a majority Black cast and not directly tied to the continuous storyline, the scale of its success was in question. However, the film shattered all expectations — partly because of the fervor of Black audiences, partly because of the fanaticism of Marvel stans, but mostly because it was just a really good movie.
Black Panther managed to draw from a beloved world and create a standalone one worthy of its own obsession. Other Avengers have received their own film, prequels and sequels and spin-offs and the like, but few have earned the same cult-like status for their characters and their worlds in the way Black Panther did.
When Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away last year, fans mourned him as an actor, an activist, and King of Wakanda. So intertwined is his legacy with the success and hope that Black Panther offered that it's hard to imagine that world existing without him.
Many fans worried that the combined profit-wheel of Marvel and Disney would try to recast Boseman's iconic role of T'Challa, but the studios were quick to reassure their audiences that this would not be the case.
Still, what the next iteration of the Black Panther franchise will look like has been up in the air. While we know that the minds behind the original are at work on a sequel, we don't know much else — but that's standard for a Marvel film, a studio known for keeping plot details under wraps, even from some cast members!
But there has been a recent dispatch from the Black Panther camp: Ryan Coogler will direct a Disney+ series based in Wakanda.
Disney+ is one of the newer streaming sites throwing its hat in the ring to compete against the giant that is Netflix. Its original appeal was nostalgia, which admittedly had fans of animated Disney classics and throwback Disney Channel Original Movies making a beeline to the site, but nostalgia alone wouldn't have been enough to sustain it.
Disney's ownership of Marvel has been another draw for the platform, and as it branches out into more original content, which has included the likes of Beyonce'sBlack is King from the Lion King soundtrack and new animated movies like Soul, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has also found itself expanding.
WandaVision's unique 50's-style sitcom recently premiered and the Kingdom of Wakanda series is only one of the upcoming projects from Coogler.
"With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way," said Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, "creating a watershed cultural moment. We're thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team."
Coogler is similarly excited about the partnership "and building a relationship with audiences all over the world through the Disney platforms."
Fans will be eagerly awaiting details for both the Wakanda television show and to see the fruits of the other Coogler partnerships. Coogler has a diverse directorial range, having made his debut with the social issue blockbuster Fruitvale Station and having directed other blockbusters such as Creed.
It will also be interesting to see how Coogler responds to some of the criticism that Wakanda was a homogenization of African cultures in a way that some found dismissive. While others found the representation of different countries and customs empowering – and thought that the film satisfyingly subverted negative stereotypes about Africa and Africans – others saw Wakanda as a symptom of America's general misrepresentation of the continent.
Overall, fans are receiving the news of the upcoming partnership with eagerness and anticipation. On the second day of Black History Month, it's exciting to reflect on this time three years ago as we all eagerly awaited Black Panther, while imagining the possibilities for this continuation.
Even though it won't look like the world we knew in the first season, with the next phase of the MCU having commenced and T'Challa gone, there is so much richness in the kingdom of Wakanda that we cannot wait to explore.
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