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Ryan Coogler Talks How Death Of Chadwick Boseman Almost Ended His Career in Hollywood



On Oct 3, Coogler sat down with EW to share a raw moment in his life that almost led him to exit Hollywood.

Ryan Coogler Goes Marvel

In Jan 2016, Ryan Coogler made headlines when Marvel president Kevin Feige announced his tapping to direct Black Panther. In Feige’s words,

“Many fans waited a long time to see Black Panther in his own film, and with Ryan, we know we’ve found the perfect director to bring T’Challa’s story to life.”

And also that Coogler did with a flourish. One can say he outdid himself, then effectively captivating the hearts of fans across the globe.

Undisputed Talent

“Black Panther” was far from Coogler’s first work. Coogler had already made a name for himself with “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station,” both successful projects earning him acclaim. After “Black Panther,” no one could deny the immensity of Coogler’s talent.

However, despite solidifying his success, Coogler went on record admitting he almost quit Hollywood after “Black Panther,” the reason being the death of Chadwick Boseman.

Black Panther: Coogler’s Passion Project

“Black Panther” was like a dream project for Coogler. In his interview with EW, Coogler expounds on how directing “Black Panther” awakened his creativity on another level. According to the talented director, the project took on its own life. He became driven by what it could become.

Coogler candidly spoke on how “he daydreamed about the future Wakanda might hold — what unexplored corners he might investigate, what new characters he’d introduce.” And he was even more than elated when he got the news that “Black Panther” was green-lit for a sequel.

The Moment That Changed Everything

Sadly things can change at the turn of a dime. And Coogler explains the moment that changed his life. Chadwick Boseman was much more than T’Challa, Black Panther, and a hero for many. And to Coogler, Boseman was also his friend, whose untimely death was crushing. According to Coogler, with the death of Boseman, he saw all he dreamed of lose its appeal. In the director’s words,

“I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business. ‘I didn’t know if I could make another movie period, [let alone] another Black Panther movie, because it hurt a lot.”

However, it was not time for Ryan to hang up his director’s hat, and he would come to find clarity of purpose. The director admits that after pouring over interviews and shared moments, he discovered his reason for continuing.

Chadwick Boseman: A Light Amongst Men

Few knew of the battle Boseman waged with Colon Cancer. Sadly Aug 28, 2020, his fight ended. While many only knew Boseman by his performance credit, his loss reverberated worldwide.

Losing Boseman was like losing a brother, a friend, and a son. Losing Boseman was like losing a hero.

Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman. Photo Image: CNN.

Indeed, “Black Panther” was a phenomenon, and Coogler deserves credit. However, much of the success of “Black Panther” can be attributed to Boseman’s undeniable light, and it will be missed.

Coogler and “Wakanda Forever”

Coogler’s initial reaction to Boseman’s death needs no justification. But fans will be forever grateful for his decision to honor Boseman’s legacy by continuing to share his gift.

Wakanda Forever

Wakanda Forever. Image Source:

The community needs his light. There is no more fitting way to honor Boseman’s legacy. In the words of Producer Nate Moore, “Wakanda Forever” is unique because it is more than about grief.

“The movie is about how you move forward while dealing with a tragic loss.”

For fans who want to experience Ryan Coogler’s work and also tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, “Wakanda Forever” premieres on Nov 11 in theatres Nationwide.

Written by: Renae Richardson

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