Ryan Coogler Soul

If you pay close attention during the closing credits of Pixar’s Soul, you’ll spot one name that may come as something of a surprise: Ryan Coogler. The director of Black Panther and Creed was never announced as part of the creative team for this film, so what did he do to earn a “special thanks” credit in Pixar’s newest movie? We spoke with the filmmakers behind the movie and asked them that very question, and they explained the Ryan Coogler Soul connection. Learn the answer below.

/Film will be publishing a detailed, spoiler-filled interview with Soul director Pete Docter, co-director Kemp Powers, and producer Dana Murray on Christmas Day when the movie debuts on Disney+. But before we do that, let’s satiate the curiosity of cinephiles out there who are wondering how director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) contributed to this project.

“He’s an Oakland guy, and we’re based in Emeryville,” producer Dana Murray told me, referencing Coogler’s home base and Pixar’s Northern California campus. “Being the friendly studio we are, we have a lot of space, and I think he was looking for a place to hide and write the films he’s working on. So we took advantage of the fact that he was around and asked him to take a look at the reels and we had a notes session with him, and he was really helpful. He’s a really nice guy.”

This kind of thing happens frequently on big Hollywood productions. In fact, Coogler himself once asked Donald Glover for some help punching up the Black Panther script, leading to a great moment for Letitia Wright’s Suri.

Coogler is still attached to write and direct Black Panther 2 for Marvel Studios, a project which just suffered a devastating loss with the death of star Chadwick Boseman. “I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see,” Coogler wrote in his moving tribute to the late actor.

During the time that Soul was going through production, Coogler also did a rewrite on Space Jam 2, Warner Bros.’ long-awaited sequel which stars LeBron James and also has Coogler on board as a producer.

So there you have it: the Ryan Coogler Soul mystery has been solved. Soul arrives on Disney+ on December 25, 2020.

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