Black Panther: Wakanda Forever co-writer and director Ryan Coogler recalls his final discussion with Chadwick Boseman as the new movie finally makes it to theatres. Prior to his death from colon cancer in 2020, the Oscar nominee was set to reprise his role as Wakanda’s king and protector in the follow-up to the last Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Following a period of sorrow, Coogler and Marvel continued with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever without casting a new actor in the lead part of T’Challa, opting instead to focus on the story’s exploration of grief over the character’s and actor’s passing.
In a recent episode of Marvel’s The Official Black Panther Podcast, Ryan Coogler discussed his friendship with the late actor Chadwick Boseman. The co-writer/director remembers his last phone chat with the actor, during which he wanted to talk about the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever script, but Boseman refused to read it—a decision for which Coogler later discovered a sad explanation. Below is what Coogler revealed:
I had just finished it. My last conversation with him was calling him and asking if he wanted to read it before I got notes from the studio. That was the last time we spoke, and he passed maybe a couple of weeks after I finished. […] He was tired, bro. I could tell he was tired. I’d been trying to get a hold of him for a few days. […] I could tell something was up. But he was joking and laughing, talking about how he was planning a wedding in South Carolina, talking about the people he was going to invite. […] And then he said he didn’t want to read it, because he didn’t want to get in the way of whatever notes the studio might have, so he was like ‘It’s better if I read it later.’ But I found out later that he was too tired to read anything.
Chadwick Boseman Didn’t View the Original Black Panther 2 Script
Due to his exhaustion from fighting his sickness, Boseman didn’t read the original Black Panther: Wakanda Forever script, which is one of the more intriguing and heartbreaking details from Coogler’s memory. Since the late actor famously kept his cancer diagnosis a secret from everyone but his family and a select group of friends, many people were shocked to learn of his passing even though he had been battling it for almost five years.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was to explore T’Challa’s post-Avengers: Endgame troubles as he copes with the loss of five years in the world after being blipped in Infinity War, according to Coogler’s recently released script notes. Although Boseman’s beloved character would have still been present, the co-writer/director noted that the tone would have largely remained the same as the eventual sequel, with the character lamenting his predicament and coming to terms with having fled his country for five years without a protector. Interestingly, Namor was always intended to be the antagonist in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, despite the change in focus.
Despite the possibility that Boseman did not read the initial Black Panther: Wakanda Forever script, the cast, and crew of the MCU follow-up have remained faithful in their efforts to pay tribute to the late actor with the movie. Numerous people have mentioned how the Emmy winner’s presence was felt on the set of the film. Recently, director Ryan Coogler said that they paid tribute to Boseman by leaving the No. 1 place on the casting call sheet open for the late actor. When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theatres on November 11, viewers will be able to grieve Boseman’s passing alongside the cast and crew of the movie.