Days ahead of the release of the anticipated sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, director Ryan Coogler is opening up on his relationship with late actor Chadwick Boseman. In 2020, Boseman died during pre-production on the sequel which was originally intended to bring back the actor to play T’Challa. The story was rewritten from scratch following Boseman’s death in a way that honors the beloved performer along with his character.
Ahead of the film’s arrival, a tie-in podcast was launched to provide Marvel fans with more behind-the-scenes insight. This includes Coogler describing his final interaction with Boseman. As Coogler explains (via The Direct), he had just finished the script for Black Panther 2 and had given Boseman a call to speak about it. It turned out to be their final conversation as Boseman died weeks later, though Coogler recalls feeling that “something was up” during that call.
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“He was tired, bro. I could tell he was tired. I’d been trying to get a hold of him for a few days and Denzel [Washington] had been trying to get a hold of him too. So I texted him and told him, ‘Hey man, Denzel said he’s been looking for you too.’ Because he just did Ma Rainey for Denzel. So he called me. And I could tell he was laying down. We were talking. And Simone [Boseman] was with him. And (laughs) he kicks Simone out, because he told her he didn’t want her to hear nothing that could get him in trouble with the NDA. And she didn’t wanna leave him. So I could tell something was up. But they were joking and laughing.”
Chadwick Boseman Didn’t Get a Chance to Read the Screenplay
While Coogler knew something seemed off, he had no idea that Boseman was fighting a secret cancer battle. Boseman also declined to read the script, insisting that he didn’t want to interfere with the creative process.
“He talked about how they were planning their wedding in South Carolina. And how many people he was going to invite… And he asked about my kid, ’cause he had missed our baby shower. And then he was like, yeah, he said he didn’t wanna read it ’cause he didn’t wanna get in the way of whatever notes the studio might have. So he was like, ‘It’s better if I can read it later.’ But I found later that he was too tired to read anything.”
Boseman’s was not recast, as the sequel follows the leaders of Wakanda moving on to protect their nation after the loss of T’Challa. The sequel brings back Letitia Wright, Lupia Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett. Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, and Tenoch Herta also star. Coogler directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole. Kevin Feige and Nate Moore produced.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in movie theaters on Nov. 11, 2022. Watch the official trailer below.