After much speculation, Marvel announced yesterday, January 11, that “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station” director Ryan Coogler will direct the highly-anticipated “Black Panther” film. 

The confirmation comes months after rumors that “Selma” director and Array founder Ava DuVernay would be involved.

Producer Kevin Feige, quoted in Marvel’s statement, alludes to Coogler’s last two films as being influential on their decision to have him helm ”Black Panther”: 

“We are fortunate to have such an esteemed filmmaker join the Marvel family,” said producer Kevin Feige. “The talents Ryan showcased in his first two films easily made him our top choice to direct ‘Black Panther.’ Many fans have waited a long time to see Black Panther in his own film, and with Ryan we know we’ve found the perfect director to bring T’Challa’s story to life.” 

“Creed” star Sylvester Stallone won a Golden Globe Award during Sunday’s ceremony for his return to the Rocky Balboa role. 

Marvel’s statement also acknowledged the importance of Black Panther to the comic books’ universe over the past half-century: 

Black Panther has been an important character in the Marvel universe for 50 years. He is the king of the technologically-advanced nation of Wakanda, and Panther has served as a member of the Avengers in addition to his many solo adventures.   

Black Panther will be portrayed by “Get On Up” and “42” actor Chadwick Boseman. Although the film will not be released until February 16, 2018, Boseman will debut the character in Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which hits theaters on May 6.