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SYFY WIRE Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

‘Black Panther’: Ryan Coogler almost quit directing after Chadwick Boseman’s death

Ryan Coogler almost left the movie business altogether after the passing of the Black Panther star.

By Trent Moore
Ryan Coogler Chadwick Boseman Getty

The death of Marvel star Chadwick Boseman in 2020 is one fans are still reeling from, but understandably, the loss deeply affected those close to the Black Panther actor. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler took the loss so hard, he says he seriously considered walking away from the movie business altogether following Boseman’s passing.

Coogler told Entertainment Weekly that losing Boseman led him to have trouble finding any joy in the movie-making process at all, and he considered handing off the reins to the Black Panther franchise and stepping away from Hollywood altogether.

"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?’”

It took some time and game planning with Marvel, but Coogler says he finally reached a point where he felt they could use the Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever as a way to not only honor Boseman’s legacy (and that of his on-screen hero T’Challa), but also as a catharsis for fans around the globe as a way for all of us to process the loss of Boseman. 

“It's my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with," Coogler told EW. “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.”

The early trailers for Wakanda Forever look stunning, and clearly show a nation still reeling from the loss of its king, which is an emotion we can all understand. Wakanda Forever returns most of the original cast of Black Panther, including Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye) and Winston Duke (M’Baku). The film is also adding a new hero in Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, a hero who has followed in Iron Man’s footsteps as the young hero Ironheart.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens Nov. 11.

Looking for more superhero action? X-Men: First Class and Fantastic 4 are streaming now on Peacock.