Ryan Coogler thinks a movie centered around the female heroes of Wakanda would be “amazing.”
Critics and audiences alike praised the strong women that surrounded King T’Challa in the box office smash Black Panther. Many people noted the female characters of Wakanda were incredibly well-developed and interesting, and were far from arm-candy or background characters. They were integral to the plot. Director Ryan Coogler is among those who share that view.
According to Variety. at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, when asked by film critic Elvis Mitchell if the women of Black Panther were as important as the men, Coogler quickly fired back, “I think you could argue they are more important.”
In fact, count Coogler among those who think the women of Wakanda could carry a movie all on their own. “There’s a whole section of the film where T’Challa is out of the movie and you’re just following the women,” Coogler continued “That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie when I watched it, and I didn’t expect that.”
“That part of the movie you feel like you’re watching something fresh and new,” he said. “That part of it was exciting. We have these actresses who could easily carry their own movie,” he said,
Well, would he actually direct a Black Panther spin-off featuring the Women of Wakanda? “Oh man,” Coogler said. “That would be amazing if the opportunity came up. They did it in the comic-book version.”
One possibility to do just that presented itself in the aftermath of this summer’s Avengers: Infinity War. (Spoiler ahead) At the end of the movie, T’Challa dies as Thanos kills half of all beings in the universe with a snap of his fingers.
In the comics, when T’Challa died, his sister Shuri — played by Letitia Wright in the movie — became the new Black Panther. While the movie version of the character is less physical and more tech-based, I think it is easy to imagine Shuri picking up the mantle and becoming some version of the Wakandan hero in her brother’s stead.
Another path would be to make a movie based on the Women of Wakanda comic, which is centered on the exploits of the king’s special forces squad, the all-female Dora Milaje.
This is all hope and speculation at this point, Marvel is being incredibly tight-lipped about what we might expect from their “Phase 4” movie slate. But more and more, people are talking about how great a movie focused on these incredible female characters would be.
And Marvel is listening.