Ryan Coogler had big plans for “Black Panther” prior to the death of Chadwick Boseman.
“It was a massive movie but also simultaneously a character study that delved deeply into [King T’Challa’s] psyche and situation,” he said of the script he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole for the sequel.
That unfortunately would all change when Boseman passed in 2020 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.
Coogler said while a daunting task, he knew he had to deliver a script that honored his dear friend and carried the story forward.
“I wanted to deliver to the audience, like, what I would want if I was in their shoes. And one of those things was a eulogy for our fallen comrade,” he explained.
Once on set Lupita Nyong’o says Coogler created a safe environment for the cast to grieve.
“Ryan set the tone even before we started filming. We’d have these meetings with him. And I remember there were sessions that went way over because we were going through it,” she said.
“Grief is an ocean, and sometimes it’s high tide and sometimes it’s low. And you have to just allow, allow, allow. And I’m so glad that we had a leader in Ryan that understood that and was going through it himself. This was the right place for us to be because all of us knew what we were missing and we could be there for each other.”
“We built a love for each other on that first one,” added Coogler. “It was the most personal movie I’d ever made. And then, you know, fast forward to this and now we’re making something just as personal, if not more.”
Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri says everyone was dedicated to giving it their all to honor Chadwick’s legacy.
“We’re really proud of what we created. We poured a lot of love and heart into it. And, yeah, we’re just bringing that to everybody and hoping that they feel it.”