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Ryan Coogler on Chadwick Boseman’s Absence for Sequel

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Coogler shares touching new insights in the wake of losing Boseman.

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Director Ryan Coogler opened up about the emotional challenges of making Black Panther 2 without Chadwick Boseman. Coogler spoke to host Jemele Hill on a recent episode of Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast (via Yahoo) about how the unexpected passing of Boseman weighs on him, both personally and professionally. The tragedy of Boseman’s untimely death at 43 years old after losing a four-year battle against colon cancer deeply affected family, colleagues and fans. It also left the public wondering what the sequel to 2018’s Black Panther — which turned Boseman into one of the biggest stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — would look like, especially with Marvel’s promise that Boseman’s role will never be recast.

As the months go by, Coogler told Hill he’s still dealing with the loss of Boseman, who was not only a coworker, but also a friend to the director. Coogler shared that “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,” and spoke about the prospect of working on Black Panther 2 without Boseman, saying it “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.”

Ryan Coogler, Chadwick Boseman on Black Panther set
Image via Marvel Studios

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Even so, the director wants to honor the work he and Boseman did together, stating that “this one hurts and stings, but it’s also incredibly motivating,” and added, “I’m incredibly sad to lose him but I’m also incredibly motivated that I got to spend time with him.”

Coogler is grateful for his time working with Boseman, but the process is not without pain, since both Black Panther and Black Panther 2 are personal projects to the director, and projects that revolve around the figure of T’Challa, the king of Wakanda. To Coogler, it is not always easy to keep personal feelings and professional responsibilities separated.

As Coogler 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.”

Black Panther 2 is scheduled to premiere July 8, 2022.

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