Marvel Studios has been on a seemingly unstoppable roll ever since they launched the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with Iron Man. As successful as the studio has been, there has still been a fair share of criticism regarding diversity in the MCU, both in front of and behind the camera. The studio has taken the first steps to change all of that, by announcing their first movies lead by an African-American (Black Panther) and a female (Captain Marvel), as part of their massive Phase Three slate.
While neither project has a director yet, the studio had been considering African-American filmmakers Ava DuVernay (Selma) and F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) for Black Panther, but neither filmmaker is currently in the running. Most recently, a rumor surfaced that Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) is the studio's top candidate, but nothing has been confirmed yet. While we wait to see who eventually signs on to take the helm of Black Panther, one of the MCU's only African-American stars, Anthony Mackie, revealed in an interview with The Daily Beast that he doesn't think the studio necessarily needs to find a black director for Black Panther.
"I don't think it's important at all. As a director your job is to tell a story. You know, they didn't get a horse to direct Seabiscuit! The thing is I don't think the race of the director has to do with their ability to tell a story. I think it's all about the director's ability to be able to relate to that story and do it justice. I think men can direct women, and two of my greatest work experiences were with female directors. So I think it all depends. May the best man-or woman-win."
Fans will be first introduced to Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, in next year's Captain America: Civil War, which also stars Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, along with most of the Avengers: Age of Ultron stars and many more new and familiar characters alike. Anthony Mackie has become an MCU staple since debuting in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, but as it turns out, the actor never knows when he'll be called upon next. Here's what he had to say, when what he knows about the future of the MCU.
"All we know is everyone who was in the first Guardians of the Galaxy is in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Spider-Man is in Spider-Man. You don't know who else is in it. They know. But like, when I was in Ant-Man, I didn't know I was in Ant-Man. I just got a call from Kevin (Feige) saying, 'Hey, what are you doing next weekend?' When we did Avengers, I didn't know I was in Avengers. I just got a call: 'Hey! What are you doing in two weeks?' I am now an Avenger. But no one tells me anything. You never know when they're going to call you, you just want to be ready when they do."
Black Panther won't hit theaters until February 16, 2018, so the studio still has plenty of time to find a director. Marvel recently brought on Joe Robert Cole, a product of the studio's writer's program, to write the Black Panther script, and a report from earlier this month revealed that the studio won't search for a director until the script is finished. What do you think about Anthony Mackie's Black Panther comments?