Director Ryan Coogler has had an extremely tough few years since the release of Black Panther in 2018. As he was working on the script for the sequel, the shocking and tragic news broke that Chadwick Boseman had passed away, in August 2020. Since then, the hugely-anticipated sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been subject to several delays caused by the pandemic, as well as Letitia Wright sustaining an on-set injury.
Now that the release of Black Panther 2 is finally imminent, Coogler has been opening up about the difficult decision to carry on with the sequel after Boseman’s passing. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Coogler says; “I was at a point when I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business.’ I didn’t know if I could make another movie period, [let alone] another Black Panther movie, because it hurt a lot. I was like, ‘Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?'”
Any fears regarding the sequel’s troubled production were washed away with the release of two stunningly beautiful trailers for Wakanda Forever. And it’s clear that when it is released, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
“I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, towards what I realised was the end of his life,” Coogler says. “I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”
“It’s my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with,” Coogler explains. “If I don’t believe in what I’m doing, I’m going to have a hard time getting other people to do their best work. For them to do their best work, they have to believe in it.”
Lupita Nyong’o says that Coogler got the cast through the difficult process of returning to set without Boseman. “I dreaded the start of this shoot because I could not imagine how we would proceed without Chadwick. It was unfathomable to me. But Ryan managed to honour his life and his role in both the film and our lives with his moving, truthful, and clear vision.”