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‘How do you move on?’: Ryan Coogler admits struggle of making Black Panther 2 after Chadwick Boseman’s death

Ryan Coogler has spoken out about the difficulties of making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after the death of Chadwick Boseman.

Boseman played T’Challa, the Black Panther, in the first film, as well as in several other pictures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In August 2020, he died of colon cancer at age 43 – an event that left his Black Panther castmates devastated and without the lead star of their planned sequel movie.

Coogler, who co-wrote and directed Black Panther and the follow-up film, released in November, has spoken out about “feeling uncomfortable” continuing the story without Boseman.

While delivering the David Lean lecture at Bafta on Monday (12 December), he said: “I was a director without a lead actor, tasked to make a film about a hero when we’d just lost ours.

“So the question was, how do you move on when your very existence, your very identity, was defined by another person, and you lose them?

“That question motivated us to complete the film.”

In the two weeks that followed its release, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earned half a billion dollars in the US, making it one of the year’s most successful cinematic releases.

Although Coogler’s films have garnered several achievements, including a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, the director also admitted that he often battles self-doubt.

Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman in 2018 (Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman in 2018 (Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

“I feel like I’m standing right now in a place where maybe I shouldn’t be,” he said of giving the lecture at Bafta. “It’s a feeling that I’ve grown accustomed to over my life and career.”

He went on to explain that experiences with being told “no” throughout his career have strengthened him to being rejected.

“I still struggle with doubt, every day... I’ve dealt with disappointments, man, like big time, and... to be a filmmaker is to (be okay with) rejection.

“For every one acceptance letter, I got hundreds of no thank-yous from actors... and studios.”

You can read The Independent’s review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever here.