SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two reunions make “Black Panther” an especially personal chapter in the Marvel cinematic universe.
The movie, set to begin filming in January, will mark the third time director Ryan Coogler has worked with actor Michael B. Jordan. They teamed up previously on “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station.”
They’re joined by Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, the star and writer, respectively, of the Tony-nominated play “Eclipsed,” which concluded its run on Broadway last month. Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa, also known as Black Panther.
“They’ve been doing a really good job of keeping this a secret — even from the cast,” Jordan said after his role was revealed to fans at Comic-Con over the weekend. “I’m really excited to get back to working with Ryan Coogler.”
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Jordan plays the villain in the movie, set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda.
“I’m really, really curious to start diving into a side of my personality that a lot of people don’t get a chance to see. It’s always cool to show a different side,” the 29-year-old actor said.
Coogler, 30, is still polishing the script for the movie, which features the first black superhero in comics, at a time of turmoil in the U.S. over police killings of black men.
“I feel fortunate and excited to be making a film like this. No time better than now,” he said.
Though best known for her role in “The Walking Dead,” Gurira’s “Eclipsed,” about five women caught in Liberia’s civil war, garnered six Tony nominations. She grew up in Zimbabwe.
“To see an epic story like this told with the Marvel engine, the Marvel abilities — through the personhood, really, of African people — is really, really thrilling,” she said. “It’s a dream come true for a little African girl who spends her life watching other folks do those types of stories — and gets to see Africans do that story. I mean, that’s pretty amazing.”
The Oscar-winning Nyong’o credited “God’s good grace” with reuniting her with Gurira, “because I had no say in the matter.”
“We did a secret jump up-and-down while we were working on ‘Eclipsed,'” she said. “I don’t mind carrying on the rest of my life with her.”
“Black Panther” is set for release in 2018.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ryanwrd