Ryan Coogler’s Heartfelt Letter to the Cast, Crew & Fans of Black Panther

“Filmmaking is a team sport” Ryan Coogler writes in a heartfelt letter in the wake of Black Panther‘s historic opening weekend. Coogler is, of course, correct, yet he was Black Panther‘s undisputed leader. The rising star co-write and directed the film, and he is no doubt trying to square in his mind how in just his third film, he’s now a part of history. Coogler, his incredibly talented crew, and his cast have poured their hearts and souls into Black Panther, yet that was never a guarantee people would respond to it with this level of excitement. The highest opening of all time in February? Check. The fifth-highest opening in film history? Check. A groundbreaking film that has re-written the old rules about what audiences want to see on the big screen, both domestically and all around the world? Check. Coogler’s letter, which has been posted on Marvel’s Twitter page, is likely in part a reckoning with what he has achieved, and it speaks volumes that he immediately begins praising the people who helped him make history.

Here is the letter in full:

I am struggling to find the words to express my gratitude at this moment but I will try.

Filmmaking is a team sport. And our team was made up amazing people from all over the world who believed in this story. Deep down we all hoped that people would come see a film about a fictional country on the continent of Africa, made up of people of African descent.

Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film — but to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters — moved me and my wife to tears.

For all the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world — all before even seeing the film…

To the press who wrote about the film for the folks who hadn’t seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…

And to the young ones who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…

Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.

Ryan Coogler

Folks—if you haven’t seen the film, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket. Coogler’s humility belies his massive talent. Or, actually, it speaks to it. Nobody makes a film by themselves, and nobody makes a Marvel film without learning how to work well with a large team, a very involved studio, and a larger cinematic universe in which your film is supposed to fit into. Yet nobody could have made this Black Panther but Coogler and his incredible team. It’s the rare massive blockbuster that is also deeply personal. It will take a while to fully appreciate Black Panther‘s impact. Until then,  all hail the King—and Queens—who made Black Panther a film for the ages.

Featured image: L to R: Danai Gurira (Okoye) on set with Director Ryan Coogler. Ph: Matt Kennedy. ©Marvel Studios 2018


The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.