'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever': Ryan Coogler Wanted To Quit Filmmaking After Chadwick Boseman's Death

We are just over a month away from the long-awaited release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Not only is this film the sequel to the billion-dollar-grossing 2018 film, “Black Panther,” but it’s also the first film in the franchise to arrive after the death of Chadwick Boseman. And according to director Ryan Coogler, despite the huge success of the first film, the filmmaker wasn’t sure he wanted to return. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to be a director anymore. 

Speaking to EW, Ryan Coogler talked about the emotions surrounding his decision to return for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” He also opened up about how the death of Boseman made him question his entire career.

“I was at a point when I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business,'” Coogler said. “I didn’t know if I could make another movie period, [let alone] another ‘Black Panther’ movie, because it hurt a lot. I was like, ‘Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?'”

READ MORE: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Trailer: The Nation Mourns Its Fallen King While Namor Poses A New Threat

He added, “I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, towards what I realized was the end of his life. I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”

Ultimately, Coogler did return and had to retrofit his original script for the sequel to take into consideration the death of Boseman, which would mean that the character of T’Challa would also die. Then it was a matter of making sure everyone else was on board for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The filmmaker believed that as long as he felt strongly about the story, everyone else would buy into his idea.

“It’s my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with,” Coogler explained. “If I don’t believe in what I’m doing, I’m going to have a hard time getting other people to do their best work. For them to do their best work, they have to believe in it. At the end of the day, the choices we make have to feel truthful to me. When filmmakers make things that don’t feel truthful to them, you can feel it. And I will argue that those projects don’t have a shot at working.”

LISTEN: ‘The Silent Twins’: Letitia Wright Talks Her Intense Prep, Her Confidence In The ‘Black Panther’ Sequel & More [The Playlist Podcast]

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” tells the story of the passing of King T’Challa and the power vacuum that is left in the world. This leads to Namor arriving on the scene, leaving his underwater kingdom, to wreak havok on the surface world. And Coogler believes the inclusion of the ocean kingdom and water, in general, into ‘Wakanda Forever’ is especially fitting.

“There’s that idea of grief and intense emotion feeling like it comes in waves,” he said. “Sometimes a wave can take you away where you lose control of it. You think you’re in control, but the water can always remind you that you’re not.”

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” arrives in theaters on November 11.