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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

'Black Panther' director Ryan Coogler developing Wakanda-based TV series for Disney+

The untitled Wakanda series is the latest in a huge raft of Disney+ television shows set in the Marvel universe

Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Danai Gurira in 'Black Panther'. Courtesy Marvel Studios
Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Danai Gurira in 'Black Panther'. Courtesy Marvel Studios

Disney is developing a Black Panther television series set in the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda as part of a new five-year content deal with director Ryan Coogler, the company announced on Monday.

Global smash hit film Black Panther, starring the late Chadwick Boseman, was adored by critics and audiences around the world, becoming the first comic book movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and grossing more than $1 billion worldwide.

It was also credited as a major step forward in African-American representation for Hollywood, with a predominantly black cast and writer-director in Coogler, who is also overseeing a sequel to the film set for next year.

"Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation," said Disney executive chairman Bob Iger.

FILE - Ryan Coogler attends the 10th Annual AAFCA Awards on Feb. 6, 2019, in Los Angeles. Disney on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, announced a five-year exclusive TV deal with Coogler’s Proximity Media company that includes development of a series based in the Kingdom of Wakanda from Coogler’s “Black Panther” blockbuster. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision/AP, File)
Disney has announced a five-year deal with Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media company that includes development of a series based in the Kingdom of Wakanda. AP

"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's company, Proximity, will develop a "wide variety" of projects for streaming service Disney+ and other branches of the sprawling Mouse House studio.

"We're already in the mix on some projects that we can't wait to share," said Coogler.

The untitled Wakanda series is the latest in a huge raft of Disney+ television shows set in the world of the record-grossing Marvel superhero films.

At an investor presentation in December, Disney announced "roughly 10 Marvel series" would hit the streaming service over the "next few years".

Others included the Samuel L Jackson-led Secret Invasion; Ironheart, starring If Beale Street Could Talk actress Dominique Thorne; and Armor Wars, starring Don Cheadle.

WandaVision, the first new release in the Marvel universe for almost two years because of delays caused by the pandemic, is currently being broadcast on Disney+.

The pioneering Boseman's lead role in Black Panther will not be recast in the sequel film, after his death in August from colon cancer, the company has said.

"His portrayal of T'Challa the Black Panther is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel's past, and it's for that reason that we will not recast the character," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said.

Additional reporting from Associated Press

Updated: February 2, 2021 05:53 PM

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