'Black Panther' Producer Kevin Feige Says "Importance of Representation Can't Be Understated"

The superhero "represents real hopes, and real dreams, and real representation," Feige told the Producer Roundtable.

"Black Panther's not real," producer Kevin Feige told the Producer Roundtable, "but he represents real hopes, and real dreams, and real representation."

"There's a certain amount of pressure that came with that, delivering on what people had been dreaming about for years," Feige told The Hollywood Reporter. "A lot of people said, 'Wait a minute, this a hero that looks like me.' The importance of that really can't be understated."

Ryan Coogler (the director of Black Panther) asked the Marvel team if they had their own crew members for the film, or if he could bring in some of his own, people who worked on "films that were excellent, but much smaller than Black Panther." Feige said, "Our answer's never outright, 'No'; it's 'Let's meet.'"

"Every single crew member that he brought to us, they blew us away," Feige said. "They were incredible," he said, giving a special mention to Black Panther's director of photography Rachel Morrison, who was nominated for an Academy Award (Mudbound) shortly after production ended, making her the first-ever female nominee in the category.

Coogler also brought in production designer Hannah Beachler (Lemonade, Moonlight) and costume designer Ruth Carter (Amistad, Malcolm X). "That movie couldn't possibly have looked any better with anybody else. It was because we were open to listening and believing in Ryan, and giving people an opportunity. Now, we're desperate to work with them all on all our films going forward."

"We have learned on our last number of movies," Feige concluded, "that the more diverse the group of people around the table, the better the movie, and the better the ideas, and the better it's going to look."