In an op-ed published by the site Shadow & Act, it was revealed today that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler intends on keeping production of the film’s highly anticipated sequel in the state of Georgia, despite the passing of its most recent controversial voting law.
In the article, Coogler states:
“While I wished to turn my concern into action, I could not do so without first being educated on the specifics of Georgia. Having now spoken with voting rights activists in the state, I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of SB202. “
Between changing the terms of absentee voting, requiring additional forms of ID to vote, and transferring election authority to statehouses that are solely Republican (among other things) SB202, as he calls it, makes it increasingly difficult for people in middle and lower class areas to cast their ballots.
The whole basis of Coogler’s decision lies with the fact that just because the state’s public officials failed doesn’t mean the people have to continue suffering. He believes that boycotting the state, which so many people have called for, would only hurt the hardworking people at its core. Simply put, less productions would mean less jobs.
Coogler’s decision comes as several productions have pulled out of the state in protest of the law, and while several corporations based in Georgia such as Coca-Cola, Aflac, and Home Depot have expressed their disapproval too. Nearly two weeks ago, the MLB’s annual All-Star game was one of the first high profile projects to publicly withdraw its business from the state. This past week, Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming Apple TV+ project, Emancipation, became the latest.
Coogler’s commitment goes beyond just keeping the film in the state too. He also plans to donate to organizations combatting voter suppression and continuing to use his platform to educate the public about the importance of democracy.
Now, Coogler’s decision about Black Panther II is the first time we’ve technically heard any comment about the controversial voting law from Disney. While it seems like he may be alone in his opinion, back when the law first went into effect last month, multi-faceted mogul Tyler Perry had a similar level-headed response stating, “As some consider boycotting, please remember that we did turn Georgia blue and there is a gubernatorial race on the horizon — that’s the beauty of a democracy.”
Black Panther II is currently looking to begin production this June for a targeted release date of July 8, 2022.