There is an assumption that working for someone like Disney on a Marvel or Star Wars film means the people behind the camera have no freedom because of long-term plans. However, the more movies are made, the more directors keep assuring people that they were not limited creatively. Yahoo Movies recently spoke to Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and was asked if he hit any roadblocks because of Avengers: Infinity War.
“No, not at all. That never happened. It was possible, maybe if I wanted to kill T’Challa or something. But nothing I wanted to do creatively came into conflict with what Joe and Anthony [Russo] were doing with their film – and I wasn’t encouraged to do anything that strayed from that by the studio either. It was a beautiful situation.”
That’s not to say Coogler didn’t hit any roadblocks — but they were ones that have also hampered some past directors such as Joss Whedon and James Gunn: contract issues.
“Being a Marvel fan, you want to grab all the characters. You realise there’s contractual things. You don’t have that character. There was a Christopher Priest run that was pretty heavy, there’s a big scene where Panther’s fighting Kraven, Kraven the Hunter.”
When Marvel was trying to avoid bankruptcy, they sold the rights to some of their characters to different companies. Spider-Man infamously went to Sony, but they didn’t just get Spider-Man in that deal — they got his entire rogues gallery. That includes characters like Kraven the Hunter.
“I’ve always loved Kraven the Hunter in almost every iteration. So there was a moment – ‘Can I grab Kraven?’ – and they were ‘Nah, you don’t have Kraven.’ He was one where I thought ‘Oh, man.’ But I don’t even know if he would have worked in the movie we ended up with, this was the early days.”
When Sony decided to do their shared custody agreement, it wasn’t blanket permission for Marvel to put Spider-Man characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like some other websites are assuming. It’s a very complex contract, and if Marvel wanted to put Kraven in the film, it would have taken some serious negotiating.
Summary: T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
Black Panther, directed Ryan Coogler, stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Martin Freeman. It will be released on February 16th.