Just last night came word that Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray might take on Furious 8, the new chapter in the Fast and Furious franchise. Actor Vin Diesel (you worked with Gray on the 2003 action film A Man Apart) even took to Facebook to share a picture with the filmmaker, seemingly adding to the speculation. However, now comes word that Gray is also rumored to direct the upcoming Black Panther over at Marvel. The film would be mark a significant benchmark for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in becoming the first film in the canon to star a non-white leading man.
A Black Panther film adaptation has been floating around for a while now with actor Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up) confirmed to play the title role also known as Wakandan leader T’Challa. Boseman is already set to make his Marvel debut in next summers’ eagerly anticipated Captain America: Civil War. The problem, thus far, has been attaching a director to the solo Black Panther feature. Director Ava DuVernay (Selma) was an early favorite over at Marvel, but she quickly dropped out of the project presumably over creative differences with Marvel. Since Gray has been considered a contender- the Set It Off and The Italian Job filmmaker was also allegedly in contention to direct the 2014 feature Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
While at press time, it’s unknown whether or not Gray is the top (or only) candidate to take on Black Panther or not, it may mark a huge Sophie’s Choice-like decision from the filmmaker. While it may not be physically impossible for Gray to tackle both Furious 8 (scheduled to open in April 2017) and Black Panther (scheduled to open summer 2018), it would make a grueling schedule with tremendous production overlap. Either way, it marks a win for Gray following the enormous box office and critical success of Straight Outta Compton. The N.W.A. biopic has made nearly $200 million worldwide.
We will stay tuned to the latest developments.