"Black Panther" Director Ryan Coogler Detailed His Final Conversation With Late Chadwick Boseman

The wait is over! The highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is upon us.

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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

Following the passing of Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa, we celebrate Black Panther’s return in his honor.

chadwick and costars in the movie
Marvel

Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler joined writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on the first episode of the Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther podcast to discuss his filmmaking journey and the last conversation he had with the late actor.

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"My last conversation with him was calling to ask if he wanted to read [the script] before I got notes from the studio," Ryan said. "That was the last time we spoke. He passed maybe a couple weeks after I finished."

chadwick and ryan

Ryan considered Chadwick more than just an actor — he was a writer, thespian, scholar, and champion for the first major Black superhero in the MCU franchise.

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"He was tired. I could tell he was tired," he said. "I could tell he was laying down when we were talking."

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During Ryan's final conversation, Chadwick was accompanied by his wife, Simone Ledward Boseman. "He kicked Simone out because he told her he didn't want her to hear nothing that could get him in trouble with his NDA," Ryan joked through audible tears.

closeup of chadwick and simone
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Ryan said it was hard to get ahold of Chadwick at the time. He and Denzel Washington were trying to reach him because Chadwick had just starred in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, produced by Denzel and starring Viola Davis.

chadwick and costars in the movie
Netflix

The four-time NAACP Image Award-winning director wanted Chadwick's approval for the sequel script, but the actor refused to get in the way of the studio's notes. Ryan shared, "I found out later that he was too tired to read anything."

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Ryan's original plans for the sequel were to flesh out more of Chadwick's character. "The second script was a T'Challa vehicle." He claimed they would " do the deepest dive into this guy that you could imagine."

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But, news of Chadwick's condition surprised many of his fans and collaborators, and the script evolved following his passing. Ryan discovered that Chadwick kept his condition private the entire time he portrayed T'Challa. "I found out he was sick since I known him. He was sick when I met him. The first time I met him was 2015."

  Rich Fury / Getty Images
Rich Fury / Getty Images

Ryan shared the moment he learned the news of Chadwick's passing. "I was at my house," Ryan said. "I got a call from my manager Charles King. He called and told me, and I didn't want to believe it, so I called Denzel [Washington], and I spoke to him and we thought it might be a rumor, so I texted Chad, I was in denial."

Chadwick and the cast of Black Panther on the red carpet

On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman passed away.

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"Everything about Chad was unique," Ryan said. "How he lived and how he died was unique."

Chadwick smiling as fans crowd around him

"His significance to [Black Panther] can't be overstated, and there isn't anything like it in this industry."

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Chadwick Boseman and Wakanda forever!