Ryan Coogler almost quit directing after his Black Panther leading man Chadwick Boseman passed away.
The Creed filmmaker had been working on ideas for a sequel to the 2018 Marvel blockbuster when Boseman died in August 2020 aged 43 following a private battle with colon cancer. Coogler found himself mourning the loss of his star, his close friend and a collaborator who helped shape the Black Panther stories.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Coogler admitted the loss made him consider leaving the filmmaking business altogether.
"I was at a point when I was like, 'I'm walking away from this business,'" he shared. "I didn't know if I could make another movie period, (let alone) another Black Panther movie, because it hurt a lot. I was like, 'Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?'"
Following Boseman's death, Coogler spent time rewatching old footage of them together as well as interviews with Boseman talking about his character T'Challa/Black Panther.
"I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, towards what I realised was the end of his life," Coogler explained. "I decided that it made more sense to keep going."
Coogler ultimately co-wrote and directed the sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which depicts the citizens of the fictional African nation of Wakanda grieving the death of their leader. Returning stars include Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and Winston Duke.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released in cinemas on 11 November.