Ryan Coogler decided to open up about how he’s had to grieve Chadwick Boseman. The director is in the same boat as Black Panther fans around the world after the actor’s tragic death last year. Coogler talked to The Hollywood Reporter about his career and his work with Boseman. It’s not hard to imagine how lonely the process to bring Black Panther II to life is without the series’ star. The actor was the first foundational piece on the way to making the wildly popular Marvel franchise. It was a worldwide phenomenon, but more importantly, Boseman was a friend and colleague to everyone who worked on the film. Sadly, that loss isn’t going away any time soon as there’s still a large task in front of the cast. For the director, he can still clearly hear that voice and that laugh when he closes his eyes. And that’s just staggering to hear as a fan of the first film.
"I didn't know what was going on," Coogler said. "I knew what he wanted me to know. I miss him in every way that you could miss somebody, as a friend, as a collaborator. And it sucks because I love watching movies, and I don't get to watch the next thing he would have made. So it's grief on a lot of levels, but then, it's a deep sense of gratitude because I can close my eyes and hear his voice."
"You've got to keep going when you lose loved ones. I know Chad wouldn't have wanted us to stop. He was somebody who was so about the collective. Black Panther, that was his movie. He was hired to play that role before anybody else was even thought of, before I was hired, before any of the actresses were hired,” the director remembered. “On that set, he was all about everybody else. Even though he was going through what he was going through, he was checking in on them, making sure they were good. If we cut his coverage, he would stick around and read lines off-camera [to help other actors with their performances]. So it would be harder for me to stop. Truthfully. I'd feel him yelling at me, like, 'What are you doing?' So you keep going."
All of the people involved in the sequel think that honoring Boseman’s legacy is the most important thing heading into the future. It would be hard to argue that. Because even though he played a hero on-screen, he was a real person with an even more staggering legacy.
What is your favorite project that Boseman starred in? Let us know in the comments!