A female-led Black Panther? Could it really happen? The record-breaking blockbuster’s director Ryan Coogler said Thursday that he’s up for making a spinoff featuring the lady warriors of Wakanda.
Female characters played by powerhouse actresses Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Leticia Wright are central to Black Panther‘s storyline, and Variety reports that Coogler was asked if women were as important as men in the film.
“I think you could argue they are more important,” Coogler said during a conversation with journalist Elvis Mitchell at the Cannes Film Festival on May 10. He pointed out, “There’s a whole section of the film where T’Challa (aka Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman) is out of the movie and you’re just following the women. That’s one of my favorite parts when I watched it, and I didn’t expect that.”
He explained, “That part of the movie, you feel like you’re watching something fresh and new… We have these actresses who could easily carry their own movie.”
And when Mitchell asked if Coogler would ever consider making a female spinoff, the director gave an enthusiastic thumbs up, saying, “That would be amazing if the opportunity came up. They did it in the comic book version.”
Variety reports that Black Panther has grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, and Coogler commented on the fact that studios used to worry that an action film with a black-led cast wouldn’t perform well overseas.
He compared it to other industries, saying, “There was a time when owners of American baseball teams would say, ‘If we put black and Hispanic people on the field, would people come to the games?’There was a time in basketball, there were no black people on the court.”
The 31-year-old director wasn’t about to let those fears stop him from getting his film made. He told Mitchell, “For me, it was, why can’t film have more black movies?”
“People said maybe these films won’t travel,” he noted. “For us, it was an issue of, we don’t know if that’s the case. It was great to have partners at Marvel and Disney who were excited about that as well.”