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IndieWire Honors Video: Ryan Coogler Talks About the Challenge of ‘Black Panther 2’

As the filmmaker prepares to make his very first sequel, he tells IndieWire he's ready to embrace the pressure and "just focus on the work."

Ryan Coogler at the IndieWire Honors 2018 at No Name on November 1, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Ryan Coogler at the IndieWire Honors 2018 at No Name on November 1, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Michael Buckner for Variety

On November 1, the 2018 IndieWire Honors ceremony celebrated eight filmmakers and actors for their achievement in creative independence. We’re showcasing their work with new interviews conducted right before they accepted their awards at the event.

Ryan Coogler’s first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have catapulted the “Black Panther” filmmaker to the top of the box office and straight into the franchise filmmaking record books, but the “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” director is still surprised that the film even exists. “The most surprising thing is just that it worked, just that it was a movie at all,” Coogler told IndieWire before accepting his IndieWire Honors Visionary Award last week. “As long and hard as the process was, oftentimes I would be like, ‘I don’t know if this thing is gonna work, I’m not even sure this is making sense. But you keep chipping away at it, chipping away at it.”

Suffice it to say, it did work, and Coogler is now signed on to make a sequel to his smash hit MCU film. Asked if the sky-high expectations for “Black Panther 2” are making him nervous, Coogler got reflective (and honest).

“I think the pressure is kind of always going to be there,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to make three feature films, each one of them had its own very specific type of pressure. In the process of it, it feels insurmountable each time.” He’s not kidding: pre-“Black Panther,” Coogler took on films that followed real-life tragedies (“Fruitvale Station”) and other beloved franchises (“Creed”), projects packed with the kind of expectations that could keep any filmmaker up late at night.

“When it comes to making a sequel, I’ve never done it before, a sequel to something that I’ve directed myself,” Coogler said. “So I think there’s gonna be a lot of pressure there, but what we’re going to try to do is just focus on the work, like we always do. Really try to go step by step and try to quiet everything else around us, really focus on trying to make something that has some type of meaning.”

Watch the full interview with IndieWire Executive Editor and Chief Critic Eric Kohn below:


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