‘Black Panther’ Director Ryan Coogler Almost Quit Filmmaking After Chadwick Boseman’s Death: ‘I’m Walking Away’

"I didn't know if I could make another movie period, [let alone] another 'Black Panther' movie, because it hurt a lot," Coogler said.
Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman in "Black Panther"
Lupita Nyong'o and Chadwick Boseman in "Black Panther"

Ryan Coogler was at a crossroads following the August 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman.

The “Black Panther” co-writer/director revealed to Entertainment Weekly that lead star Boseman’s passing from colon cancer reframed his entire career. “I was at a point when I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business,'” Coogler said. “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?'”

Coogler continued, “I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, towards what I realized was the end of his life…I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”

Now, as Coogler’s follow-up “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is poised to premiere in theaters November 11, the filmmaker is reflecting on Boseman’s lasting legacy both in and out of the MCU.

“It’s my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with,” Coogler said. “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.”

“Black Panther” star Lupita Nyong’o added that she “dreaded” the start of production because she “could not imagine how we would proceed without Chadwick.”

“It was unfathomable to me. But Ryan managed to honor his life and his role in both the film and our lives with his moving, truthful, and clear vision,” the Academy Award winner said.

Marvel Studios president Feige recently addressed why King T’Challa (Boseman) wasn’t recast following his August 2020 death.

“It just felt like it was much too soon,” Feige told Empire magazine. “Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And [director] Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.”

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