Black Panther director Ryan Coogler shared his thoughts on the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman.
On Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, Coogler used social media to shed light on his relationship with Boseman and his impact on and off the screen.
“I finally met Chad in person in early 2016, once I signed onto the film,” Coogler wrote. “He snuck past journalists that were congregated for a press junket I was doing for Creed and met with me in the green room. We talked about our lives, my time playing football in college, and his time at Howard University studying to be a director, about our collective vision for T’Challa and Wakanda. We spoke about the irony of how his former Howard classmate Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing T’Challa’s current arc with Marvel Comics. And how Chad knew Howard student Prince Jones, whose murder by a police officer inspired Coates’ memoir Between The World and Me. I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.”
Coogler spoke about working with Boseman during the beginning stages of creating Black Panther and the advice he gave about how scenes should play out.
“While filming the movie, we would meet at the office or at my rental home in Atlanta to discuss lines and different ways to add depth to each scene,” Coogler wrote. “We talked costumes, military practices. He said to me ‘Wakandans have to dance during the coronations. If they just stand there with spears, what separates them from Romans?’ In early drafts of the script, Eric Killmonger’s character would ask T’Challa to be buried in Wakanda. Chad challenged that and asked, what if Killmonger asked to be buried somewhere else?”
Of course, Killmonger, wonderfully played by Michael B. Jordan, would deliver one of the most powerful lines in the film when he said, “Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships ’cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
Coogler ended his dedication by writing that Boseman’s legacy will never be forgotten.
“I think it was because, from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him,” Coogler wrote. “It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us until we meet again.”