The Marvel Cinematic Universe has boasted many monumental films to date, and everyone has a preference for their best film. For Marvel Studios Chief Kevin Feige, the title goes to 2018's Black Panther, who recalled saying to director Ryan Coogler after viewing the final product, "That's the best movie we've ever made."
The film won three Academy Awards and was a filmmaking milestone in featuring a predominantly Black cast, and it owes its performance to those behind the camera as well. Oscar-nominee Rachel Morrison worked as cinematographer on the film, and the expectation was that she would return once again for the sequel when production begins. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, a return may now be in doubt.
While speaking to IndieWire and shared through The Playlist, filmmaker Rachel Morrison, who has worked with director Ryan Coogler on both Fruitvale Station and Black Panther, expressed uncertainty regarding her return to working on the upcoming Black Panther 2.
Morrison was set for her directorial debut of Flint Strong, before the pandemic halted production, pushing back the target date to January 2021. As Morrison notes, the target date also happens to overlap with her planned involvement on the Black Panther sequel:
“I was supposed to deliver my movie and then a few months later hop on to ‘Black Panther 2...Now, there might be some issue of those overlapping. Ryan and I talk regularly. He called me up cause he had a dream a few ago that he was three weeks into production and this male DP comes out holding a camera and he’s like, ‘That’s not my DP. Where the fuck is Rachel?’
Still, Morrison expressed some hope that a return to the MCU was still in play:
"If we had gone back in September, I think we could make it, but now it’s a bit of a moment of truth for everyone to realize if my movie is definitely going back in January that I probably won’t be able to do ‘Panther,’ which is devastating to me. If we can’t go back in January and we get pushed into fall of next year, maybe I can do ‘Panther.’”
WHAT THIS MEANS
Black Panther is one of the MCU's best made films and very many give praise to the work of director Ryan Coogler, and rightfully so. One of the best traits about Coogler is that he hasn't hesitated in ensuring praise is given to so many others that helped create the final vision we saw on screen, from the musical composers to the costume designers and more.
Coogler has made it known that Rachel Morrison's work as cinematographer on the film was instrumental, and her not working on the sequel would surely be a significant loss. As Morrison noted it will be difficult to work around the overlapping production timelines between her directorial debut for Flint Strong and Black Panther 2, but fans can only hold out hope that an accommodation can be worked out.
Marvel Studios couldn't imagine anyone other than Ryan Coogler directing the sequel, and if his influence reaches as far as ensuring Marvel figures a way somehow to get Morrison to return, we can be sure Kevin Feige and team will be respectful in trying to find a solution.