Ryan Coogler on why Black Panther is Marvel’s most political film (EXCLUSIVE)

Sam Ashurst

The release of Black Panther has become one of the biggest talking points of the year – with the character even gracing the cover of Time magazine, because of the impact of Ryan Coogler’s film onto culture.

A big part of the conversation has involved politics – thanks to the fact it’s a film with a largely black cast, that celebrates African identity, in a political climate that sees the current American President, Donald Trump, allegedly insulting African nations.

But, for Ryan Coogler, there’s a very simple explanation for why the film feels so political.

“I think the idea that this is the most political Marvel film, or the most political comic-book film comes up a lot, but [Black Panther] should be, because of who the character is – the character is literally a politician, and he’s an African King. There’s no way we could do right by this character and not have it be political.”

The superhero film is also very switched on when it comes to gender issues. And that’s also down to Coogler’s dedication to staying true to the comics.

“The characters in Wakanda that happen to be women, there’s a deep roster there. My co-writer Joe Robert Cole and I, my collaborators at Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige and Nate Moore who was assigned to the project, we always thought that was an interesting thing about the country.”

“As the comic-book genre goes on, it’s always a fight to make ours different, because there’s so many of them now, it’s not like it was when Jon Favreau made Iron Man – where it was like ‘Yo, let’s just make Iron Man.’

“We wanted to make our film unique, as it sits amongst other comic-book films. It’s a built-in opportunity there. And [it came from] exploring Wakanda, and exploring the idea of this country, researching African countries and ancient ones, realising that gender dynamics were different – this idea that you can’t be a king without a queen, so we really leaned into these characters.”

Black Panther is in UK cinemas now. 

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