Yesterday it was announced by The Wrap that Ava DuVernay was being tapped to direct a Marvel Feature film. There was no mention as to which film the director of Oscar winning Selma would be overseeing if she was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there is strong speculation that she would be given the Black Panther film, which is set to open in 2018. Marvel has pointed to wanting a black director to helm the film just as much as they have talked about looking for a female director for the Captain Marvel film set for November of 2018.
No one can criticize the choice that DuVernay has not done anything action or fantasy oriented since the Russo brothers also had not done any major action films or TV. In fact they mostly came from a comedy background, and yet look how Captain America: Winter Soldier turned out.
This news was very satisfying, but the more I thought about it the more I wondered why the immediate choice of film for Ava to direct was one that featured either a Black Male or White Female protagonist. Underneath the positive move to include diversity behind a big Marvel feature, this felt very much like executives and fans were pigeonholing the accomplished director.
Even though I know Ava D. could pull off a great Panther film, when I look at her work I don’t see external over arching themes. I see introspection and the inner turmoil of characters and their obstacles or choices. If you have seen Selma, remember the moments when King was just pondering his situation and that of his followers? They were strong quiet moments that spoke loudly. DuVernay has used those moments in her other works like I Will Follow. She spoke about the use of silence in film on a recent podcast with KCRW’s The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell. And in Selma, she also did an excellent job of showing the intricacies of a closely bound group of people at odds with each other in the way of King’s friends, allies and enemies. So let me ask you this dear reader – What other Marvel property that is being turned into a major motion picture will No Doubt have powerful Silent moments and show internal forces pulling at family and external forces working to tear them apart? Did I hear you say InHumans? If you did, then you get a GSB virtual Ribbon!
For those that are unfamilar, The InHumans are a race of people with extraordinary abilities. They were experimented on by an alien race called The Kree. And even though the aliens abandoned their experiments, the InHumans continued to thrive in secret from the rest of humanity. At the top of leadership is Black Bolt and his royal family. And guess what one of Black Bolt’s powers are? If he even utters a single word he can shatter a building. A shout from him can level a city block. So Black Bolt remains silent in his rulership while his wife Medusa speaks for him. Just imagine taking some of that Game of Thrones juice and pouring it into the Marvel Universe, even though the InHumans came way before J.R.R Martin created GoT.
I’m sorry but Ava DuVernay would Kill It as the director of The InHumans. Silence is one of her tools. I know it wouldn’t take her long to see the potential of a story about an outcasted people that are feared by many, and the pressures of family fighting to stay strong in adversity. And the icing on the cake is that the script for The InHumans was written by a black guy by the name of Joe Robert Cole.
We do need more people of color behind the scenes in Hollywood, as the ACLU has concluded recently. But especially we need them to not be seen as just for ‘diverse’ projects. They need to be seen for their gifts and talents and not just their ethnic background. I’m not saying that a Black director shouldn’t be the first choice to direct Black Panther or a Female director not be chosen for Captain Marvel. I’m saying that Ava and other directors like her can add something more to a Superhero film other than just their personal view of a particular culture. And if you are reading this Marvel and think to yourself “She WOULD be great for The InHumans” then peep my list of 10 other directors that could direct a Black Panther film.
Either way it goes I will be glad for Ava DuVernay and look forward to seeing her getting bigger projects as her career continues to grow.