Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther 2 will be a difficult Marvel outing for all involved, creators and fans alike. Returning director Ryan Coogler, who was in the midst of writing the Black Panther sequel when Boseman died, has now offered some insight into dealing with both the grieving and creative process at the same time, as well as paying his respects to the legacy of the beloved actor, who he believes would not have wanted them to stop making Black Panther follow-up.
"It's difficult. 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. 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."
Having quickly become synonymous with the Black Panther role, Chadwick Boseman sadly passed away on August 28 at the age of 43, after secretly battling colon cancer for the last four years. The actor had decided to keep his health issues a secret, even from Coogler and Marvel Studios.
"I didn't know what was going on. 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."
It is heartbreaking to hear Coogler's very personal struggles since Boseman's passing, and how the loss has bled into his passion for movies, but there is no doubt he will honor the legacy of his friend and colleague with Black Panther 2.
While very little is currently known about the direction of Black Panther 2. Many initially wondered whether the role of T'Challa would be recast with another actor, or if Chadwick Boseman would feature using CGI, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has since confirmed that neither of these options are being considered.
Lupita Nyong'o, who will return as Nakia in Black Panther 2, has teased Coogler's exciting ideas for the sequel, whilst acknowledging that things will be different without Boseman. "It's gonna be different, of course, without our king, to go back into that world, but I know that all of us are dedicated to reimagining or carrying on his legacy in this new Black Panther," she said. "And [director] Ryan Coogler has some really, really exciting ideas that I look forward to bringing to life with the rest of the family.
Black Panther 2 is scheduled for release on July 8, 2022. This comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.