Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman made his debut as T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War, turning the recognizable Marvel first-timer into a breakout star.
Real life-inspired Fruitvale Station and boxing drama Creed did the same for filmmaker Ryan Coogler, a rising talent who signed on to deliver Marvel Studios their first production lead by a Black superhero.
Like Wonder Woman before it, Black Panther has already tapped into the cultural zeitgeist and will deliver Marvel their next undisputed hit — a win-win for a studio known for knocking it out of the park.
Pairing Coogler with leading man Boseman was a natural fit, the actor told journalists during a Black Panther set visit.
Boseman equated the partnership to a good marriage, saying he and Coogler shared "very similar" views even before working together:
"Have you ever dated somebody, and somebody was like, 'you’re really going to like this person'? It’s kind of like that," he said.
"So we have very similar views about what things should be like. And the things that we usually have a difference of opinion about, it’s so minor what those differences are," Boseman explained. "I think it’s more of a growth because there’s nobody battling you. We’re constantly building on each other, so it’s been a good marriage so far."
The first-time Marvel director said Black Panther combats superhero movie fatigue because of its unique cultural elements. "There hasn't really been a film about a character like T'Challa before," Coogler told Fandango.
"There have been a lot of superhero movies made," the 31-year-old filmmaker explained. He added, "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."
Black Panther is Marvel's version of James Bond, according to Coogler, while Boseman compared the movie in part to The Godfather in how it deals with complex themes: themes surrounding tradition and the leader of the pack learning the complications of trying to do what is considered the right thing.
The actor is aware of the cultural impact his Marvel Cinematic Universe character plays in the real world, and it's a "special thing," he told CNET in November.0comments
"It's just this tremendous opportunity," he said, "not just for me but for all of us really to get out of our boxes. It's not just Black people getting out of their boxes. Everybody is excited about the opportunity to do something that we should have already done. People are excited about seeing new stuff, but I think they're extra excited about seeing stuff they should have seen already."
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker, Black Panther opens February 16.