Ahead of the long-awaited sequel to the box office hit, Black Panther, director Ryan Coogler is opening up about almost leaving the film industry after the death of his friend, Chadwick Boseman.
On Monday (Oct. 3), Coogler sat with Entertainment Weekly to talk about his excitement for the latest addition and how Boseman’s death took a heavy toll on him. The 36-year-old director said he wasn’t sure if he had it in him to do Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, let alone any more movies.
“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 revealed that in the weeks after the movie star’s untimely passing, he replayed memories of the two together, watching old footage and listening to old interviews of Boseman talking about his character, T’Challa, and what Wakanda meant to him. While reflecting on Boseman, he said, “I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had toward what I realized was the end of his life. [So] I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”
Coogler and Marvel have repeatedly stated there were no plans to replace Boseman with another actor for T’Challa. However, the director hoped the sequel would carry the late actor’s legacy while telling a new story.
“It’s my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with [and] 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,” Coogler said.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters Nov. 11.
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