Two years have passed since the death of Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman and the people have yet to forget it. Although Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler and fellow castmates were hesitant in continuing without the actor, the film sets up a funeral to honor and pay tribute to both the actor and T’Challa. Ryan Coogler recently recalls the last time he had a conversation with Chadwick.
Speaking on the first episode of Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast, the director was asked to talk more about how Black Panther 2 came to be, and apart from the technical behind-the-scenes process of completing the script, Coogler recalls his final conversation with Boseman. Read his story below:
“I just finished [the script]. My last conversation with him was calling him, asking him if he wanted to read it before I got notes from the studio. That was the last time we spoke. He passed maybe a couple of weeks after I finished. He was tired, bro. I could tell he was tired.”
Ryan Coogler tears up upon remembering the sound of Boseman’s voice, admitting he didn’t know the actor was battling colon cancer. Not even Boseman’s longtime friend and producer, Denzel Washington, on the actor’s final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
“[Boseman] called me, and I could tell he was laying down when we were talking. Simone [Boseman’s then-fiancée] was with him, and he kicked Simone out because he told her he didn’t want her to hear nothing that could get him in trouble with an NDA. And she didn’t want to leave him. So I could tell something was up.”
Coogler continues on about how much the couple was in good spirits, so much that they were joking around about their upcoming wedding in South Carolina. Eventually, the director ends with ‘maybe a couple of weeks later’ when he learns the actor had died. It was through an unreturned text to Boseman when the director realized his friend had passed away.
“You know, you go through that denial. And with technology, I think it makes it kind of easier to deny things, you know? You think, maybe it’s a hoax, ‘Let me text or call him.’ So I texted him. And then I told Denzel to check and see if it’s a rumor. He called me back and said, ‘It’s not a rumor.’ Then my agents called back and said that the release had just been posted. So that was how I found out.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres on November 11.