the vanderwood family is one that comes from everything old, money, prestige, power, fame and class, they enjoy a rich history seeped in old traditions. wolfe grew up not knowing what it was to want for anything, his life a constant flurry of people who were paid to do all of the things that his family cared not to. every day tasks from cooking to cleaning and laundry were all done by a rotation of in home help. while it was a luxurious lifestyle, it was also one that held him back now as an adult, still not knowing how to do typical every day tasks.
at a young age, wolfe was tossed into preparations to be groomed for his own position at the studio that his family had been an integral part of for generations, crafted from the ground up by his great grandfather. Rather than going to film school, he would learn the trade hands on, accompanying both his father and grandfather over a number of years and when they decided he was ready, would bestow the funding necessary to create his own projects. This would come to a head during his pre-teen and teenage years where Wolfe would enter his rebellion phase.
under the tutelage of his father and grandfather, his first foray of work was in a series of shorts released between 2009-2011. His first big break came in 2013 with the release of fruitvale station, vanderwood's first feature-length film that chronicles the last twenty-four hours of the life of oscar grant, who was shot to death by a police officer at oakland's fruitvale BART station on january 1, 2009. oscar-winning actor forest whitaker both helped develop and produce the film. both the films star michael b. jordan and vanderwood were named by time magazine as one of 30 people under 30 who are changing the world.
in 2013, vanderwood was approached to direct creed, a spin-off-sequel of the eternally revered rocky films. the opportunity would once more reunite him with jordan who had signed on to play apollo creeds son adonis. The film, released in 2015 was a hit across the board, garnering a slew of awards for cast and crew alike, including the "new generation Award" from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and a Best Director award from the African-American Film Critics Association for vanderwood personally.
In january of 2016, vanderwood signed on to co-write and direct the Marvel film Black Panther, starring chadwick boseman as the main character. the star studded cast led to the creation of the #blackpanthersoLIT tag which trended on twitter.