When asked further about the inspirations for Black Panther, Coogler said “Yeah, definitely with James Bond. I think similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we’re definitely influenced by the films of the ’70s and influenced by crime fiction.”
In regards to what other places he gathers inspiration from, he had this to say: “For me, I try to pull from a wide variety of films. I love watching movies, man. I’ve been a fan of watching movies way before I even knew I would ever make them. I’m definitely from the school of studying films. My favorite film is a film called A Prophet, a French film that was released almost a decade ago now, which seems a bit crazy. Anytime I’m making a movie, I’m always leaning on inspiration from that one.
A Prophet deals with secret societies and cultural ties, so that was a big influence on Black Panther. I also watched a lot of Coppola’s work from the ’70s. We were looking at all of that stuff and also watched a lot of the James Bond films, but not the new ones. I wanted to watch the ones that were made in the ’60s and ’70s. I watched Goldfinger for the first time, and I just thought it was really interesting in terms of how James Bond was handy.”
Coogler also talked at length about what makes Black Panther so unique from other superhero films, saying, “I think it’s got a lot of elements, man. I think it’s a bit of an espionage thriller. I think it’s a little bit of a family drama. It involves T’Challa working with his family, so I think there’s a family-drawn element to it. He works with his sister, he works with his mother. He’s dealing with the loss of his father, so similar to any film that deals with royalty, you have a family element and you have a political side, too. It works as a political drama as well.”
He continued,”There have been a lot of superhero movies made. As a comic book and superhero film fan myself, I feel like we’ve seen a lot at this point. I think that the cultural element of Black Panther — and how cultural specificity takes such a big role in the film – that’s what makes it quite unique. I’m excited to see more superhero movies, but there hasn’t really been a film about a character like T’Challa before. Hopefully, we can pull it off, but it has the potential to be something that’s really unique in a lot of different ways. I think that you can’t ignore the idea of representation and also the excitement around Marvel Studios and the work that they’ve been able to pull off when telling original and unique stories. I think that folks are excited to see what the studio is able to cook up.”
Coogler also went on to confirm that Black Panther will be taking place immediately after the events of Captain America: Civil War, explaining, “Well, the film will take place basically immediately after Civil War. In many ways, he’s the same guy. What I think is more important, and I was talking to my brother Keenan about it, who works with me, you get to see T’Challa at almost from a ground level. You get to see him and how he is around the people who he loves, how he is when he’s comfortable…In Civil War, he was outside of Wakanda. He was in a place that he didn’t want to be and his father gets killed. The whole film, he’s on a mission. He’s a man on a mission. He’s tortured; he’s of few words. I think that that was something that made him appealing in that film. In this film, it’s the same guy, but you’re seeing all of the layers pulled back. The film’s from his perspective and he’s surrounded by people who he loves and cares for. It’s just a much more personal perspective on him. You see him go through the journey of taking on the greatest responsibility that a person can have, the responsibility of leading a country. You see him go through the full weight of that in the film.”
Black Panther will be storming into theaters on February 16th, 2018.