Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is a bonafide movie buff who’s made it big and is about to make it even bigger. He’s literally gone from the back of Hall H at a Marvel Studios Comic-Con panel to the stage to present his own film. His is one of the most inspiring stories in the 10 years that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been in existence.
Fans have spotted one of Coogler’s inspirations in the trailers and the footage he showed at Comic-Con last year. Black Panther has been compared to James Bond, and that legendary franchise is an influence, but there’s more to it than that. Coogler discussed the films and ideas that inspired him with Fandango.
“Yeah, definitely with James Bond. I think similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we’re definitely influenced by the films of the ’70s and influenced by crime fiction.
“I love watching movies, man. I’ve been a fan of watching movies way before I even knew I would ever make them. I’m definitely from the school of studying films. My favorite film is a film called A Prophet, a French film that was released almost a decade ago now, which seems a bit crazy. Any time I’m making a movie, I’m always leaning on inspiration from that one.
A Prophet deals with secret societies and cultural ties, so that was a big influence [on Black Panther]. I also watched a lot of Coppola’s work from the ’70s. We were looking at all of that stuff and also watched a lot of the James Bond films, but not the new ones. I wanted to watch the ones that were made in the ’60s and ’70s. I watched Goldfinger for the first time, and I just thought it was really interesting in terms of how James Bond was handy.”
So with all of those influences, what kind of film is Black Panther? Coogler is blending many styles, so the film won’t be pinned down as one thing.
“I think it’s got a lot of elements, man. I think it’s a bit of an espionage thriller. I think it’s a little bit of a family drama. It involves T’Challa working with his family, so I think there’s a family-drawn element to it. He works with his sister, he works with his mother. He’s dealing with the loss of his father, so similar to any film that deals with royalty, you have a family element and you have a political side, too. It works as a political drama as well.”
Coogler is well aware of how abundant superhero movies have been for the better part of the last two decades. Despite drawing inspiration from several types of films that he’s enjoyed, the goal for Coogler is to make something fresh and original.
“There have been a lot of superhero movies made. As a comic book and superhero film fan myself, I feel like we’ve seen a lot at this point. I think that the cultural element of [Black Panther] — and how cultural specificity takes such a big role in the film – that’s what makes it quite unique. I’m excited to see more [superhero movies], but there hasn’t really been a film about a character like T’Challa before. Hopefully we can pull it off, but it has the potential to be something that’s really unique in a lot of different ways. I think that you can’t ignore the idea of representation and also the excitement around Marvel Studios and the work that they’ve been able to pull off when telling original and unique stories. I think that folks are excited to see what the studio is able to cook up.”
The anticipation for Black Panther has been unlike anything we have seen for any previous Marvel Studios movies. Each new piece of footage has been met with overwhelming excitement and praise. There is no doubt the demand for this film is high. Everyone believes that Coogler and his team will deliver something every bit as special as Black Panther deserves to be.
And 10 or 15 years from now, there could be some young filmmaker working on his or her first Marvel movie and counting Coogler among their influences.