'Black Panther 2' Director Ryan Coogler Says Chadwick Boseman "Wouldn't Have Wanted Us To Stop"

Chadwick Boseman's death last summer caught almost everyone off-guard as the actor had kept his colon cancer diagnosis private. And Ryan Coogler, who directed Boseman in Black Panther, was one of the many people surprised by Boseman's death, as he had already been working on the script for Black Panther 2 for Boseman to star in. Following Boseman's passing, there was some question as to how the film series could even continue. Eventually, everyone decided to move forward with altered plans – Black Panther 2 would happen, but rather than recast Boseman's now-iconic role of T'Challa, Coogler would re-work his script. In a recent interview, Coogler adds that moving forward would've been exactly what Boseman would've wanted.

The quote from Ryan Coogler about Black Panther 2 comes from THR, where the filmmaker opened up a bit about having to continue on with the film in the wake of Chadwick Boseman's unexpected death. "I didn't know what was going on," Coogler said in regards to Boseman's illness. "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."

After Boseman's death many wondered how, exactly, Black Panther 2 would continue. Would Coogler and Marvel recast the lead role? The answer turned out to be no – rather than bring in a new actor to play T'Challa, Coogler is instead reworking the script. It's not entirely clear how this will all work out – the most popular assumption is that the film will shift focus to Letitia Wright as T'Challa's sister Shuri, but that's just speculation for the time being.

However things pan out, Coogler made it clear that giving up in the wake of Boseman's death was not an option. "You've got to keep going when you lose loved ones. I know Chad wouldn't have wanted us to stop," the director said. "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."

Black Panther 2 is currently set to open on July 22, 2022.