The release of Wednesday’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever coincided with a period of change for the comic book industry, both on and off-screen. The endeavor pays tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman and is anticipated to hand the role of Black Panther to a different performer.
Off-screen, the release of Wakanda Forever comes only one day after the game-changing announcement that James Gunn and producer Peter Safran would be promoted to executive positions at DC, Marvel’s main competition in the comic book market.
I talk to James practically daily. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a fantastic new release. Concerning whether or not he has talked to Gunn since the news emerged, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told The Hollywood Reporter, “We have a great thing called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 coming out in May. I don’t know how he’ll have time to work on DC until May, but whenever he does, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be the first to arrive.
It’s a surprising flip for Gunn, who gained notoriety under Feige as the Guardians of the Galaxy movie’s director in 2014. The movie propelled Gunn, a previous independent director, to new career heights, which were momentarily put on hold when Disney decided to remove him as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2018 due to contentious, old comments. Later, Gunn was given his position back as director, but not before striking an agreement to work on The Suicide Squad for DC. There is no competition between DC and Marvel, according to Feige and Gunn, who even welcomed Feige on the Suicide Squad set.
Ryan Coogler, who wrote and directed the sequel, “poured his heart and soul” into it as “a dedication to [Chadwick Boseman],” Feige added in his statement to THR. As you’ll see in the film, part of it entails honoring the man and consequently the character, as well as upholding the legacy, narrative, and mythology of Wakanda and all the other characters.
I believe Chad would be thrilled about it,” he concluded. This evening is a celebration, which I suppose would please him.