By Stephen Ippolito | March 11st, 2021
In December, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced that Black Panther 2 will still be made despite the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman. To honor Boseman’s legacy, Feige also announced that the studio will not recast the role of T’Challa (aka Black Panther).
During a recent interview on the podcast Jemele Hill is Unbothered, director/writer Ryan Coogler opened up about how he’s still dealing with the loss and what it’s been like to work on the sequel without Boseman.
“I’m still currently going through it,” Coogler said of mourning his friend. “One thing that I’ve learned in my short or long time on this Earth is that it’s very difficult to have perspective on something while you’re going through it. This is one of the more profound things that I’ve gone through in my life, having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who is like the glue who held it together.”
“That said, you have a professional life, you’ve got a personal life. Personal life, I’m going to say that when you work in something that you love, those things blend, they come together. I’m trying to find a work-life balance. But I’m not there yet, so this is without a question the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my professional life.”
It’s perfectly understandable why Coogler would say this is the hardest thing he’s ever done in his “professional” career. He spent over a year writing and working on the sequel when Boseman was alive. Than, when he passed, he had to change the story entirely and constantly be reminded that his friend is no longer with him.
Later on in the interview, Coogler discussed how just knowing Boseman personally motivates him going forward.
“This one hurts and stings, but it’s also incredibly motivating,” Coogler said. “I’m incredibly sad to lose him but I’m also incredibly motivated that I got to spend time with him,” he added. “You spend your life hearing about people like him. For this individual, who is an ancestor now, I was there for it. It’s such an incredible privilege that fills you up as much as it knocks you out. So often as Black people, we have to pick up the pieces after loss.”
Shooting for Black Panther 2 is not expected to begin until July. At the moment, it’s not entirely known how the film will be portrayed without T’Challa. It has been rumored that his sister Shuri is expected to have a more significant role.
Look for Black Panther 2 to hit theaters on July 8, 2022.