There’s no single path to becoming a successful filmmaker. In our new series, Lessons from a Newcomer, we’ll explore the most unique roads traversed by filmmakers who have made their mark. In this first installment, we take a look at the meteoric trajectory of Ryan Coogler, whose first three films took him from Sundance to Wakanda. Coogler represents a prime example of the new Hollywood trend of Indie filmmakers diving into big budget superhero movies (Taika Waititi, for example, infused Thor: Ragnarok with his trademark humor, and we can’t wait to see how Ava DuVerney will steer DC’s The New Gods). Coogler had his hands full with Black Panther, his first big budget film, but he still managed to deliver a hit. He adapted his own singular style to the superhero genre, and we can all stand to learn something from this fascinating evolution.

Until our next episode of Lessons from a Newcomer, be sure to catch up on Fandor’s other series, like I’ll Believe It When I See It, in which we discuss movies in the tech age, unreliable narrators, continuity, truth vs. facts, and imaginary characters.