Following on the success of The Mandalorian and WandaVision on Disney+, The Walt Disney Company has tapped Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to develop an as-yet-untitled new series for the streaming service focusing on the fictional nation of Wakanda. Deadline Hollywood reports that the planned series is part of an exclusive five-year deal between Coogler’s Proximity Media production company and the Mouse House to develop the new TV series and includes shows for other divisions of the company.
“Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation,” said Bob Iger, executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company, in a statement. “With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment. We’re thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team.”
Coogler earned praise for his films Fruitvale Station and Creed before helming Black Panther. The latter film grossed a whopping $1.3 billion worldwide—the highest-grossing film by a Black director and the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time—and became the first MCU movie to win multiple Oscars (Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design). It was nominated for Best Picture, although it didn’t win.
“What makes Black Panther a welcome change isn’t just its hero, whose charisma and gravitas are undeniable, but that it is an elegantly structured adventure,” Annalee Newitz wrote in her 2018 Ars Technica review. “The stakes are high, the reveals make sense, and the payoff is satisfying. This is the way superhero movies should be done. Plus, the secret nation of Wakanda has tech that’s way more inventive than anything Tony Stark has produced lately.”
Newitz also praised the futuristic design of Wakanda, which incorporated common African tribal designs and symbolism: “Gleaming skyscrapers and maglev trains co-exist with pastoral herdsmen and packed-earth streets,” she wrote. “Machine interfaces use vivid colors, and holographic displays seem to rustle like feathers as they transform.”
A Black Panther sequel is already in development, scheduled for a July 8, 2022, release, although the untimely demise of star Chadwick Boseman last year after a four-year battle with colon cancer threw an unexpected wrench into the works. Coogler and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had not known of Boseman’s illness. Feige has said that the role will not be recast, although the studio is moving ahead with the sequel. The studio plans to continue to explore the world of Wakanda, through the planned sequel and, now, through Coogler’s Wakanda series.
“It’s an honor to be partnering with The Walt Disney Company,” Coogler said in a statement. “Working with them on Black Panther was a dream come true. As avid consumers of television, we couldn’t be happier to be launching our television business with Bob Iger, Dana Walden, and all the amazing studios under the Disney umbrella. We look forward to learning, growing, and building a relationship with audiences all over the world through the Disney platforms.”