In yesterday's episode of Queen Sugar, showrunner Ava DuVernay and OWN network founder Oprah Winfrey moved mountains and worked with Disney's Bob Iger and Ryan Coogler to deliver a brief but touching tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel's Black Panther. The scene, which you can see below, features a licensed Black Panther action figure, and given the nature of big media companies and intellectual property trademarks, it was more complicated than just writing the heartwarming scene into the script. Somebody had to make a lot of phone calls to make it happen, and DuVernay took to Twitter today to shed a little light on the situation.
DuVernay gave credit to Winfrey, Iger, and Coogler (all without specifically dropping names) and thanked cast and crew who had worked on the scene. She ended with a powerful line from the end of the scene.
You can see the tweet below.
To show the BLACK PANTHER doll on “Queen Sugar” last night took the strength of two friendships. That of our network founder and the head of the studio that made the film. And my own with the film’s director. Thanks to all who touched this scene. “That’s a good place for a king.” pic.twitter.com/3XzD8LmYMk— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 14, 2021
DuVernay was rumored to have been Marvel's pick for the Black Panther job, until the deal fell apart. Later, DuVernay would confirm that she had creative differences with Marvel that led her to exit the project. Ultimately, though, DuVernay was one of the first to praise Coogler as the right person for the job.
"I was interested in the first major feature film starring a black superhero. That was interesting to me," DuVernay said at the time. "You have to explore all aspects of a ny directing opportunity and so for me, it wasn't right for me. It's perfect for Ryan Coogler. I mean perfect for Ryan Coogler. Great friend of mine. He's already killing it. Every time I talk to him, I'm just blown away by some of the things they're talking about."
Queen Sugar airs every Tuesday at 8/7c on OWN.