In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Selma director Ava DuVernay elaborated on her reasons for ultimately declining the directorship of Marvel’s The Black Panther — which will be the first Marvel film starring a black superhero. It was pretty much as expected: it seems she feared for her creative freedom under the watchful eye of Marvel. The director had already initially stated, following the decision, “In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later …”
But in the recently-released interview, she declared her profound dedication to filmmaking, referring to her projects as her “children” and her partnerships with the industry’s professionals as “marriages.” She said:
For me, it was a process of trying to figure out, are these people I want to go to bed with? Because it’s really a marriage, and for this it would be three years. It’d be three years of not doing other things that are important to me. So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do? …These Marvel films go everywhere from Shanghai to Uganda, and nothing that I probably will make will reach that many people, so I found value in that. That’s how the conversations continued, because that’s what I was interested in. But everyone’s interested in different things…This is my art. This is what will live on after I’m gone. So it’s important to me that that be true to who I was in this moment. And if there’s too much compromise, it really wasn’t going to be an Ava DuVernay film.
The decision has surely saddened fans of the comic, of DuVernay, and of both, but ultimately it’ll just mean that those three years she would have spent on it will go toward projects she feels she can comfortably call her own, her “children,” and that we’ll like all the more for it.