If you had to take a guess, how many studios would you say are desperate to greenlight a superhero film by a black director? One? Just a few? All of the majors? I cynically volleyed that question to coworkers in Slack last week when reports started circling that Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, She’s Gotta Have It) was in consideration to direct an adaptation of Nightwatch for Sony, possibly with a script from Luke Cage’s Cheo Hodari Coker. My colleagues debated the query gamely, but the discussion didn’t end with the possibility of Lee taking on a Marvel hero. One day later, there was a report that Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time, Selma) would be directing New Gods, a DC saga of virtue and immorality that takes place in a realm of immortal beings known as the Fourth World. I was starting to get answers.
There’s a renewed sense of excitement afoot in Hollywood, and much of it has to do with the singular and sweeping success of director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther,