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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a massive place, and certain characters have managed to stand out as fan favorites. Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa/Black Panther made a huge impression when debuting in Captain America: Civil War, before his solo flick became a game-changer for the entire genre. Ryan Coogler is the filmmaker behind Black Panther, and will also be helming the mysterious sequel. And Coogler recently revealed that attempting to work on the project after Boseman's death is the hardest thing he's ever had to do professionally.
Chadwick Boseman died last August after a private battle with colon cancer. Since then the late actor's legacy has been honored by many, including posthumous Awards for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Black Panther 2 will continue without recasting the role of T'Challa or creating a digital version of Boseman, with Ryan Coogler and company committed to honoring his legacy in the mysterious sequel. Coogler reflected about trying to continue the property while missing his friend and collaborator, saying during a conversation on the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast...:
One thing that I’ve learned in my short or long time on this earth, however you want to look at it, is that it’s very difficult to have perspective on something while you’re going through it. And this is one of the more profound things I’ve ever gone through in my life. Having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who was like the glue that held it together. That said, you’ve got a professional life, a personal life, and when you work on something that you love those things blend. Your life kind of becomes your work for part of it.
Being a filmmaker is a tricky thing. The job requires you to be away from home for months at a time, forming a chosen family with the cast and crew who bringing your vision to life. It's for this reason that trying to grieve Chadwick Boseman while also working on Black Panther's sequel is such a tricky thing.
Ryan Coogler opened up about his complicated Black Panther feelings while appearing on Jemele Hill's podcast. Eventually the conversation turned to his work in the MCU, and the development of Black Panther 2. Coogler and the movie's cast have been keeping their cards close to the chest, but everyone was echoed the wish to truly honor Chadwick Boseman in the sequel.
Marvel fans can re-watch Chadwick Boseman's time in the MCU on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
Later in his same podcast appearance, Ryan Coogler went on to speak about the difficulty and emotional toll of working on Black Panther 2. And considering the movie hasn't even begun production, this is presumably the tip of the iceberg. In his words,
This is without a question the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my professional life. Without question. This one hurts, but it’s also incredibly motivating. When you look back on how this guy lived his life and how he moved through this world and what he gave to us.
Chadwick Boseman might have played a superhero on the big screen, but he was also a real-life hero to many. This includes the countless young Black kids who looked up to him, as well as his co-stars and colleagues. Since his death, everyone from Viola Davis to Taika Waititi has praised Boseman's character, as well as talents. And it's for this reason that Ryan Coogler is so hurt while moving forward with Black Panther's sequel.
It's currently unclear what Ryan Coogler has in store for the MCU's return to Wakanda, but how much it means to him will no doubt positively affect the upcoming sequel. What's more, Black Panther 2 has the rare opportunity to address something happening in the real world. Because as fans mourn T'Challa, they'll more importantly be reflecting on the life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman.
Black Panther 2 is currently expected to hit theaters July 8th, 2022. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.