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Ava DuVernay cites creative differences in declining Marvel’s Black Panther movie

Director Ava DuVernay standing in front of a banner for "Selma."
Ovidiu Hrubaru/Shutterstock
Every day seems to bring a new rumor regarding the potential directors for upcoming Marvel Studios movies, but now we have some official confirmation of who won’t be directing one of those films: Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

The director of the Oscar-nominated film about Martin Luther King’s historic 1965 civil rights march has been linked to Black Panther for quite a while now, and was reported to be the leading contender for the project back in May. Despite numerous outlets “confirming” she’d be behind the camera when shooting began on the 2018 film, DuVernay debunked those rumors over the Independence Day weekend.

“I guess I’ll declare my independence from this rumor on Fourth of July weekend and Essence weekend,” DuVernay told Essence. “I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther.”

“I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be,” she said of her reasons for passing on the project. “Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.”

In explaining her decision to decline the director’s chair on Black Panther, DuVernay did offer some confirmation that she had indeed met with Marvel Studios and both the Black Panther creative team and star Chadwick Boseman about the project at one point.

“I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs,” she said. “In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later. … I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it.”

DuVernay isn’t the first filmmaker to cite the possibility of “creative differences” with a major studio developing a high-profile superhero movie in recent years.

Back in May 2014, Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright announced his departure from the Ant-Man movie after nearly a decade of development on the film, citing creative differences in his vision for the film and that of Marvel Studios. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was originally attached to direct Marvel’s 2013 sequel Thor: The Dark World, only to exit the project due to creative differences regarding the direction of the film. Jenkins would later replace Breaking Bad director Michelle MacLaren on Wonder Woman after MacLaren severed ties with the film due to creative differences with Warner Bros.

Set to star 42 actor Boseman as the title character, Black Panther will be the solo debut of the popular African superhero in Marvel’s cinematic universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, Black Panther is both the political and spiritual leader of the highly advanced African nation of Wakanda, and has been a recurring member of The Avengers over the years in addition to protecting his country from aggressors.

Black Panther is currently scheduled to hit theaters July 6, 2018. However, Boseman is expected to make his debut as the character in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, which arrives in theaters May 6, 2016.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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