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Wednesday’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere arrived at a time of transition for the comic book world, both onscreen and off-. The project honors late actor Chadwick Boseman and is expected to pass the title of Black Panther on to a new actor.
Offscreen, Wakanda Forever’s premiere comes just one day after the game-changing news that James Gunn and producer Peter Safran will ascend to top jobs at DC, the chief rival of Marvel in the comic book space.
“I speak to James almost every day. We have a wonderful thing called the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special coming out. We have a wonderful thing called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 coming out in May,” Marvel chief Kevin Feige told The Hollywood Reporter about whether or not he’s spoken to Gunn since the news broke. “How he’ll have any time to work on DC until May I don’t know, but once he does have the time I’ll be very excited. I’ll be first in line.”
It’s a remarkable turn for Gunn, who rose to prominence under Feige as the director of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The film sent Gunn, a former indie director, to new career heights that were temporarily stalled when Disney made the decision to fire him in 2018 as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 over controversial, years-old tweets. Gunn was later reinstated as director but not before he made a deal to work over at DC for The Suicide Squad.
Feige and Gunn have long maintained there is no rivalry between DC and Marvel, and Gunn even hosted Feige on the set of Suicide Squad.
Feige also told THR that writer-director Ryan Coogler “poured his heart and soul” into the sequel, which is “a tribute to [Chadwick Boseman]. Part of that, as you’ll see in the movie, honoring the character and by extension the man, but also honoring it by continuing the legacy and the story and the mythology of Wakanda and all the other characters.”
“That’s what I think Chad would be excited for,” he continued. “This is a celebration tonight, which I would imagine would make him pleased.”
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