Ryan Coogler on ‘Black Panther 2’ without Boseman: ‘Hardest thing I’ve had to do in professional life’

The director says that he's still processing the untimely death of the man who starred as King T'Challa in the Marvel franchise film

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Black Panther 2 is on the way but getting ready for production has not been easy for director Ryan Coogler.

Coogler recently opened up on Jemele Hill’s Unbothered podcast about how difficult it is working on the sequel without the late Chadwick Boseman. Boseman died last August after a private battle with colon cancer. He was 43.

“I’m still currently going through it. One thing that I’ve learned in my short or long time on this Earth is that it’s very difficult to have perspective on something while you’re going through it. This is one of the more profound things that I’ve gone through in my life, having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who is like the glue who held it together,” per The Jasmine Brand.

Boseman starred in the blockbuster as the beloved leader King T’Challa of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Production for the second film is set to begin this summer and the film is expected to be released on July 8, 2022.

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s wife fights tears during Critics’ Choice acceptance speech

You have a professional life, you’ve got a personal life,” Coogler told Hill. “Personal life, I’m going to say that when you work in something that you love, those things blend, they come together. I’m trying to find a work-life balance. But I’m not there yet, so this is without a question the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my professional life.”

'Black Panther' Seoul Premiere - Press Conference
Actor Chadwick Boseman(R) and director Ryan Coogler(L) attend the press conference for the Seoul premiere of ‘Black Panther’ on Feb. 5, 2018, in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images for Disney)

But Coogler adds that he feels: “incredibly motivated that I got to spend time with him. You spend your life hearing about people like him. For this individual, who is an ancestor now, I was there for it. It’s such an incredible privilege that fills you up as much as it knocks you out. So often as Black people, we have to pick up the pieces after loss.”

The late actor received recognition for his work in film while he was alive and it has continued after his untimely death.

As reported by theGrio, Taylor Simone Ledward Boseman has been the picture of strength in the months since her husband, Chadwick Boseman, passed away from colon cancer at the age of 43.

Boseman was posthumously awarded Best Actor in a Drama at the 26th annual Critics’ Choice Awards Sunday night for his performance as Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which debuted last fall on Netflix.

“Wow. It has to be said aloud that for those of us who know Chad intimately, personally, professionally, those he taught, those he gave a word of advice, those who taught him — it is so hard to find a celebratory feeling in these moments,” she said in the acceptance speech, fighting back tears. “As proud as we are of him, yes for his work, but even more just for who he is as a person. But his work deserves this.”

“His work in this film deserves this. He deserves this,” Ledward Boseman continued, “and so he would always thank God first and foremost in everything. He would always honor his mother and his father. He would always acknowledge those who came before him, those who charted the path, those who gave him their gifts.”

She channeled her spouse’s love of masterful storytelling, of the resonant works he found such joy in helping bring to life.

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s wife tearfully accepts his Golden Globes award: ‘He would thank his ancestors’

“He may say something about the importance of this story. About the importance of Black voices telling Black stories,” said Ledward Boseman. “He may take this moment to give honor to August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights of our time. And, as I recently read, societies grow great when all men plant trees in their shade. They know they may never sit, and our society may be a far cry from great, but I know that the seeds you planted will grow into forests. And one day we too will be tall enough to reach the heavens.”

Additional reporting by Biba Adams

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