Coogler’s involvement appears to be a major factor so far in getting recognizable stars to join the project, such as Whitaker. After Fruitvale Station (which was produced by Whitaker) and his true breakout film Creed, Coogler is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. There is surely also some influence that Marvel Studios and their track record has in continuing to bring in actors of this caliber, but it is great to see Coogler being a driving factor in having people be excited to be in Black Panther.
Meanwhile, Whitaker’s character has not been a secret as Marvel made his role of Zuri official upon the announcement. However, this will not be the warrior and friend of T’Challa that Zuri is in the comics. Instead, Whitaker says, “He’s like the shaman of this community.” This fits with the elder description that Marvel gave and could put Whitaker in a prime role in this movie as he helps T’Challa adjust to life as a king. With production set to begin at the turn of the calendar year, it should not be long until Whitaker is reunited with Coogler and embarks on this journey.