Chadwick Boseman’s death last summer caught almost everyone off-guard as the celebrity had kept his colon cancer diagnosis confidential. And Ryan Coogler, that headed Boseman in Black Panther, was one of the many folks surprised by Boseman’s death, as he’d already been working on the script to Black Panther two for Boseman to star in. Following Boseman’s passing, there was some question as to how the movie series may continue. Finally, everyone decided to move forward with plans that were altered — Black Panther 2 could occur, but rather than recast Boseman’s now-iconic role of T’Challa, Coogler would re-work his script. In a recent interview, Coogler adds that moving forward would’ve been precisely what Boseman would have wanted.
The quotation from Ryan Coogler roughly Black Panther 2 comes from THR, in which the filmmaker opened a bit about having to continue with the movie in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s sudden departure. “I didn’t understand what exactly was going on,” Coogler explained in regards to Boseman’s illness. “I understood what he wanted me to understand. I miss him in every way that you could miss somebody, as a friend, as a collaborator. And it sucks because I like watching movies, and I don’t get to see the next thing he would have made. So it’s grief on a lot of levels, but, it’s a profound sense of gratitude because I can close my eyes and listen to his voice.”
After Boseman’s death many wondered how, just, Black Panther two will continue. Would Coogler and Marvel recast the lead character? The answer was to be no — instead of bringing in a new actor to play T’Challa, Coogler is instead reworking the script. It isn’t completely clear how this will all work out — the very popular assumption is that the movie will shift focus to Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s sister’s Shuri, but that is only speculation for the time being.
However things pan out, Coogler made it crystal clear that giving up in the aftermath of Boseman’s departure was not an alternative. “You’ve got to keep going when you lose loved ones. I know Chad wouldn’t have wanted us to stop,” the director said. “He was somebody who was about the collective. Black Panther, that has been his movie. He was hired to play that role before anybody else was thought of until I was hired before any of the actresses were hired. On that set, he was all about everyone else. Though he was going through what he had been going through, he had been checking in on them making sure that they were great. If we reduce his coverage, he’d stick around and read lines off-camera [to assist other actors using their performances]. Therefore it would be more difficult for me to cease. Truthfully. I’d feel him yelling at me, like,’ What are you doing?’ So you keep going.”