Ryan Coogler fulfilled a ''lifelong dream'' when he made 'Black Panther'.

The 31-year-old director helmed and co-wrote the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie - which is based around the first ever African superhero - and while shooting the film, Coogler admitted he kept asking himself ''what does it mean to be African?''

Coogler got to visit Africa for the project and it meant a lot to him to visit the continent as an African American man.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Coogler said: ''The film is possibly the most personal film I've made to date. To me it deals with the answer to a question that I've been asking myself since I was very young - what does it mean to be African? That idea, that concept, I was very interested in and drawn towards. I was able to explore that in making this film. It enabled me to fulfil a lifelong dream of going to the continent of Africa - researching - for the first time. The things that I learned about the continent and the things that I learned about myself were invaluable. I tried to put some of that energy into the project.''

The Black Panther character was created by legendary Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee and the equally iconic artist-and-writer Jack Kirby and first appeared in 'Fantastic Four #52' back in 1966.

The motion picture is expected to expand on the storyline that was first introduced in 'Captain America: Civil War' of how T'Challa aka Black Panther - played by Chadwick Boseman - becomes the superhero.

T'Challa's father T'Chaka is king of Wakanda and has the ceremonial title Black Panther as the chief of the Panther Tribe, but is killed when a bomb goes off at the UN making his son the Black Panther.

The film stars Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis - who are both reprising their roles as Everett K. Ross and Ulysses Klaue respectively in the new film.