Black Panther's Ryan Coogler Looks Back At His Final Chat With Chadwick Boseman

It was August 28, 2020, when Hollywood was rocked by the news that Chadwick Boseman had died at the age of 43. The news caught fans and co-stars by surprise as the actor had kept his cancer diagnosis private while working on blockbuster projects like "Black Panther" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." As tributes poured in, celebrities recalled the last time they saw Boseman, sharing powerful memories of the actor and proving he was even more of a superhero than fans thought.

Among those who struggled most to overcome the loss was "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler. He admitted to Entertainment Weekly last month that he almost quit the film industry following Boseman's death. "I was at a point when I was like, 'I'm walking away from this business,'" he recalled. "I didn't know if I could make another movie period, [let alone] another 'Black Panther' movie, because it hurt a lot."

In the end, Coogler thought about his many conversations with Boseman and watched old footage of the star passionately promoting the film — and that changed his mind. He knew the actor would have wanted him to continue and so, deciding to turn the sequel into a tribute, he penned "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." As producer Nate Moore noted, "It is very much about how you move forward while dealing with a tragic loss." Now, Coogler is sharing more details about his final conversation with Boseman and how news of his death shook him to his core.

Ryan Coogler refused to believe Chadwick Boseman was gone

Ahead of the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" premiere, director Ryan Coogler remembered Chadwick Boseman on the "Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther" podcast. First, he gave him credit for making "Black Panther" a reality. "His significance to it, it can't be overstated," Coogler said, noting how Boseman was originally cast to play T'Challa in "Captain America: Civil War" and it was his talent that convinced the studio to greenlight a full T'Challa-centered project. "He was on set, advocating for what 'Black Panther' should be," Coogler said. 

Fighting back tears, he also recalled the last time they spoke. He said, "My last conversation with him was calling him, asking him if wanted to read [the finished script] before I got notes from the studio." Coogler recalled Boseman sounding tired and sensed something was off, but the actor never let on as he talked about planning a wedding with his fiancee Taylor Simone and asked about Coogler's baby. "He said he didn't wanna read [the script] because he didn't wanna get in the way of the studio," Coogler added. "I found out later he was too tired to read anything."  

Boseman died a few weeks later and Coogler learned the news from his manager and agent. He thought it was a rumor and texted Boseman. Unbelievably, it was true. Coogler considered leaving the project but thought of Boseman filming while sick and knew better. Coogler concluded, "If he did all of that while he was going through that — you gotta push through."