As the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman battled cancer on the sets of his MCU movies, director Ryan Coogler saw things from his leading actor that he could only describe as "inexplicable."
As Black Panther: Wakanda Forever prepares for its release, fans have their attention on Coogler as he teases what to expect in the MCU final movie of Phase 4. But Boseman is also a key focus, as the sequel is largely dedicated to his memory both as an actor and in his role as T'Challa for Marvel Studios.
Coogler's experience with Black Panther 2 has been quite a difficult one, with the director even considering leaving the movie industry altogether due to the pain he experienced. But in the end, he pulled through for his dear friend and hopes to honor the late star with a story that expands on Wakanda's place in the world while ushering in a new Black Panther.
The director looked back on the time he did have working with Boseman on the first movie, revealing some of the crazier parts of how the actor completed his work on set.
Boseman's Unbelievable Perseverance on Black Panther
Speaking on Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Director Ryan Coogler shared some of the "inexplicable" things that the late Chadwick Boseman did on set during the original Black Panther.
When they first met, Coogler realized that Boseman "was an expert at withholding information," with the actor's cancer diagnosis only coming shortly after the two met for the first time. He then saw the actor "doing things that were kind of inexplicable" when they worked together on the first movie, not knowing at the time that these actions were due to Boseman's illness:
"Everything about Chad was unique. How he lived, how he died, was also unique. I realized that he was an expert at withholding information. He was sick when I met him. I mean, he might have been diagnosed shortly after we met, but was struggling with it when we met. You know what I mean? The first time I met him was 2015. And, you know, when he passed bro, I found out like, 'Oh man, he was.' I was just going back to all the things that I asked him to do in the movie [laughing]. You know, fight this dude, hang on to this thing, jump onto this pad, and some days where I would find him doing things that were kind of inexplicable."
The director remembered Boseman being "in a warming tent for a long time" before filming the movie's water scenes or just looking "incredibly sad," all while he was fighting his cancer battle. Even for that being as "shocking" to see as it was, it made Coogler feel like he had to "push through" to make the movie as good as it could be:
"We would do these things in the water, you know, waterfall stuff, it would take him like a long time to warm back up. He'd have to be in a warming tent for like a long time, and I'd be like, 'Man, that's odd.' Things like that, or some days I would find him just like incredibly sad. But looking back, I'm like, my man's was dying. It's a shocking thing to realize and it's also a thing where it's like, I can't quit. If he did all of that while he was going through that, this is just grief. So, it's like, we got to push through."
Boseman's Cancer Battle Inspiring Black Panther Director
Chadwick Boseman's battle with cancer was the biggest secret in Hollywood before the actor's untimely passing in August 2020. His widow, Simone, reflected on how tough it was to keep that secret, and it's clear that Ryan Coogler realized how much he was struggling during his time on the Black Panther set.
Boseman learned of his cancer diagnosis even before he suited up as the Black Panther/T'Challa for the first time in Captain America: Civil War, sticking him with an extremely tough challenge. And since Coogler only learned about his cancer diagnosis a short time before the rest of the world did, he remains in awe of what his leading man was able to do while being inspired to push forward with his own work following Boseman's death.
This is only one of many Chadwick Boseman stories that will surely be told as Black Panther 2 looks to make its worldwide debut this month. Leaving the character behind was an incredibly difficult decision for Ryan Coogler, and the entire team at Marvel, but they remain hopeful that this new movie will do justice to his memory and honor his impressive legacy.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuts in theaters on Friday, November 11.