The 30th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. With the loss of leading man Chadwick Boseman in 2020, it is shaping up to be one of the most emotional Marvel Studios entries yet.
The Black Panther franchise is one of the most impactful in the world of comic book movies. That is largely due to the vision realized by director Ryan Coogler.
Bringing Wakanda to life while introducing a plethora of fan-favorite characters, all while making a top-tier MCU movie, is the result of Coogler believing in the movie he, Boseman, and so many others made.
With Boseman gone and the Black Panther franchise being a billion-dollar business, Coogler had to decide whether he wanted to continue telling stories on the big screen. And according to him, that decision was an incredibly difficult one to make,
Ryan Coogler's Responsibility of Black Panther
In a recent interview Entertainment Weekly, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler discussed how he dealt with the loss of his leading man and good friend Chadwick Boseman.
He even admitted that he was close to leaving the movie business entirely, not just walking away from the Black Panther sequel:
“I was at a point when 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. I was like, ’Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?’”
Coogler reflected on his conversations with the late T'Challa actor at what he "realized was the end of his life."
“I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, towards what I realized was the end of his life. I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”
Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore added that this movie is very much about how you move forward." Putting more emphasis on Chadwick Boseman's presence in this film.
“The movie is very much about how you move forward while dealing with a tragic loss. All of the characters, both old and new, are dealing with how loss can affect your actions in ways that are emotional and surprising.”
After making the tough decision to continue forward with Black Panther, Coogler made an effort to ensure that everyone working on this project understood its importance. Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Nakia, talks about how Coogler kept reminding everyone that this was a "big movie."
“One of my favorite refrains of [Ryan’s] while we were filming was, ’We’re making a big movie!’ He said it to pump us up when the day was getting long and arduous. If you know Ryan, you know he is a very modest human being, so it would tickle us to hear him say that. We would echo it all around the set to get refocused and re-energized.”
Ryan Coogler's passion for this project was paramount in the filmmaking process. The director states that it is his "job as a filmmaker" to ensure everyone believes in Wakanda Forever.
“It’s my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with. If I don’t believe in what I’m doing, I’m going to have a hard time getting other people to do their best work. For them to do their best work, they have to believe in it. At the end of the day, the choices we make have to feel truthful to me. When filmmakers make things that don’t feel truthful to them, you can feel it. And I will argue that those projects don’t have a shot at working.”
The themes of loss within this film are destined to be felt on screen and in the audience. Coogler talks about how they use the ocean to bring that theme to loss.
“There’s that idea of grief and intense emotion feeling like it comes in waves. Sometimes a wave can take you away where you lose control of it. You think you’re in control, but the water can always remind you that you’re not.”
The official trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been released, and tickets for the movie's November 11 release are available now.
Remembering a King
Every Marvel fan will walk into theaters to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with full hearts. Everyone can take solace in that Ryan Coogler and everyone involved with the film understand and knows how important this movie is.
Coogler's awareness of transparency in movie-making should be a great sign for all blockbuster fans. It is a Marvel Studios tradition to bring in passionate filmmakers who care about the characters, stories, and fans involved in the MCU.
With a movie like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, that passion and commitment were felt from the moment the movie was announced. Coogler, N'yongo, and everyone involved is making this movie in honor of Chadwick Boseman and the character he brought to life.
Not recasting T'Challa was the first major decision that needed to be made. Once it was decided that the character would rest with Boseman, the focus shifted to making the best movie possible for the fans, the Black Panther franchise, and Chadwick.
For Coogler it is not just about honoring the life and work of Chadwick Boseman but about carrying his legacy forward.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will hit theaters on November 11.
We miss you, King.