‘Black Panther’ Director Recalls Passing of Chadwick Boseman

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Boseman’s passing was so devastating for Ryan Coogler, he nearly quit directing altogether.

Next month, the new Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is scheduled to premier in theaters. The movie has proved to be an unusual, mildly uncomfortable subject for both fans and producers, as the titular character, T’Challa, King of Wakanda, will be completely absent due to the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020.

The decision was made after a lengthy debate not to replace Boseman as T’Challa during the film’s production, and in the leadup to its release, the staff have been reminiscing on Boseman’s role in both the MCU and their lives. For the director of the original Black Panther, Ryan Coogler, Boseman’s passing was so devastating, he nearly quit the entertainment industry entirely.

“I was at a point when I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business,’” Coogler told Entertainment Weekly in an interview. “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?’”

After considering his last few conversations with Boseman, though, Coogler decided the character’s legacy needed to live on. “I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, towards what I realized was the end of his life,” Coogler said. “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. 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. At the end of the day, the choices we make have to feel truthful to me. When filmmakers make things that don’t feel truthful to them, you can feel it. And I will argue that those projects don’t have a shot at working.”

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