Black Panther II Still Shooting in Georgia

After the state of Georgia recently passed restrictive new voting laws that have stirred up controversy, Atlanta-based companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines have spoken out against the legislation. On the show business side of things, Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith pulled their production of the runaway slave drama Emancipation from the state. But it sounds like Disney and Marvel Studios won’t be following suit.

Black Panther II director Ryan Coogler wrote a statement announcing that the Marvel Studios sequel will still be shooting in Atlanta, following in the footsteps of many Marvel Cinematic Universe productions over the years. Though the director vehemently opposes the controversial voting legislation, he explained why the production won’t be moving out of Georgia to take a stand against the law.

Ryan Coogler wrote an op-ed that he shared with Shadow and Act, and he clarified his perspective on the voting legislation that was recently passed in Georgia. Coogler said, “As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to shrink the electorate and reduce access to the ballot” and added that he “was profoundly disappointed” in the passing of the new laws. So why did he choose to keep Black Panther II production in Georgia? Coogler added:

“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. For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia. What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, its shameful roots in Jim Crow, and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state.”

Instead of merely leaving Georgia behind, he will provide support to those voters who would be disenfranchised by these new voting laws, and he will actively work to fight against these changes and encourage an overturn of the bill through the government.

Coogler’s decision seems to line up with fellow filmmaker Tyler Perry, whose production studio is also squarely situated in Atlanta. Though Perry called the voting laws unconstitutional, he also reminded people about all the political progress that had been made in the state, as evidenced by last year’s election. It’s possible that more good can be done by keeping a presence in the state and creating another groundswell of support for candidates who would support fair voting laws.

This is also a noble act by Coogler, because while moving production of Black Panther II would certainly make a statement, it would also hurt those relying on the production for a paycheck. A massive production like Black Panther II will employ a lot of Georgia citizens and bring revenue to local businesses, and Coogler doesn’t want to hurt people impacted by the new voting laws even more by hurting the economy there. But even so, it would be nice if The Walt Disney Company spoke out about this issue and donated to a group like Fair Fight Action, which Ryan Coogler will be doing in an effort to reverse these restrictive new laws.

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