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– by David Kozlowski

With just under a year to go before Black Panther hits theaters, Marvel seems to be holding back a bit. To date, we’ve seen concept art and a bit of raw footage. So it’s exciting that the House of Ideas showed off a new sizzle reel at a recent open house event in Los Angeles. MCU Exchange caught up with director Ryan Coogler to get his perspective:

“I’m super excited about an African king who is also strong enough, fast enough, smart enough to do some of the things that T’Challa is going to do in this film.”

The footage includes a jungle battle between Wakandan warrior Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and a squad of heavily-armed mercenaries; Elaborate sets that merge high-tech with African culture were also previewed; Super villain Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) — bearing his comic book mechanical arm — in a terse encounter with American operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) inside a casino; Finally, there were a few glimpses of key characters played by Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, and Michael B. Jordan. 

Jordan, who plays the villain Killmonger, offered his thoughts on the film:

“The story is just going to be very honest and gritty. I think it’s a lot of the right ingredients that we have to make something really special.”

Prior to the spectacular success of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, many in the entertainment press believed (incorrectly) that Marvel was taking a huge financial and creative risk. Culturally speaking, talking raccoons and magical trees were far from the craziest things present in modern-day blockbuster films. Marvel proved once again that they understand both their subject-matter and their audience very, very well.



I contend that Black Panther has always been the more ambitious and therefore far riskier film for the House of Ideas. Black Panther is a vital yet decidedly third-tier Marvel hero, who is largely unknown to mainstream audiences. The film stars a predominately African-American cast, it’s set within a hyper-stylized African culture, and it’s helmed by a young director with only two feature-length films under his belt. 

These aren’t knocks against Black Panther, but they are significant challenges for any film to conquer. So, it’s remarkable that Marvel continues to take such calculated risks, particularly on such massive, big-budget blockbusters. In Marvel’s favor, the cast and director are off-the-charts talented and Captain America: Civil War established the main character as a charismatic and dynamic force. American audiences are more than ready for Black Panther, now let’s get that trailer out there!

Are you excited to see Marvel’s Black Panther in a stand-alone movie? Let us know in the comments down below!

Marvel’s Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.

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SOURCE: MCU Exchange

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.