While the rumors about Ava DuVernay directing Marvel's upcoming Black Panther movie are compelling- they're still just rumors. The MCU Exchange is reporting that contracts have been finalized, but the silence from both Marvel executives and DuVernay herself says it all. While back in May there were talks about DuVernay directing either Black Panther or Captain Marvel, no official sources have anything to say on the subject. There's no reason to get excited- yet.
The prospect of the Black Panther movie in and of itself is exciting (since it will be the first Marvel film to star a nonwhite actor), and Marvel has a history of hiring amazingly talented directors (Joss Whedon and Kenneth Branagh come to mind). It makes sense that they would be interested in DuVernay- her film Selma was nominated for best picture in the 87th Academy Awards. She's amazingly talented, and hiring her would be a way for Marvel to acknowledge the significance of what they're doing with the film. However, Marvel also has a history of alienating the directors they work with (as Joss Whedon has publicly discussed). Is that the kind of mistake the franchise will learn from?
It is also a little early for news like this- Black Panther isn't scheduled to be released until 2017. Would the director be contributing to Civil War (which is in production now), where the character will make his first appearance? It's probably too early to speculate about any of this- unconfirmed rumors don't always pan out. I am glad that Black Panther is getting more attention; it seems like Marvel is prepared to take him seriously and give the films the same amount of attention and PR as the others. Often films and tv shows with posotive representation of nonwhite people tend to do poorly because they're not given the same amount of marketing attention, or they're relegated to less favorable release dates. So while the rumors don't mean much, doesn't it seem like a good sign that we're already talking about it?