Ryan Coogler Revealed Chadwick Boseman Turned Down Reading The First Draft Of "Black Panther 2" Shortly Before His Death

Marvel's latest movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, hits theaters soon, and it's sure to be one of the most emotional movies in the MCU's catalogue to date.

Queen Ramonda sitting with others in the throne room
Marvel Studios

Directed by Ryan Coogler and written by Ryan and Joe Robert Cole, this new movie marks the MCU's return to Wakanda and the second standalone Black Panther film after the award-winning Black Panther in 2018.

A closeup of the Black Panther mask
Marvel Studios

Of course, while the spectacle of returning to Wakanda and exploring new worlds and characters is important to this sequel, nothing looms quite as large as T'Challa's absence following Chadwick Boseman's death in 2020.

Mural of Chadwick Boseman in a scene from the film's trailer
Marvel Studios / Via youtu.be

The movie is set to incorporate Chadwick's death as we watch Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and the rest of Wakanda grieve. Ryan Coogler explained that the main theme of the movie is grief and how you go on while carrying it.

A closeup of Shuri looking solemn as she walks in a procession
Marvel Studios

At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Ryan explained to a crowded Hall H filled with Marvel fans that the entire cast and crew "put [their] love for Chadwick into this film."

Chadwick smiling widely as he stands next to Ryan
Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

While the film is being released in 2022, Ryan recently revealed that the original Wakanda Forever script was completed before Chadwick's death two years ago.

Ryan speaking on the Comic Con stage
Chris Delmas / AFP / Getty Images

"I had just finished it," Ryan said during an interview with Marvel's The Official Black Panther Podcast. "My last conversation with him was calling him and asking if he wanted to read it before I got notes from the studio. That was the last time we spoke, and he passed maybe a couple of weeks after I finished."

Chadwick sitting on the throne as Ryan is crouched next to him discussing a scene during filming
Matt Kennedy / Marvel / Disney / Everett Collection

"He was tired, bro. I could tell he was tired. I'd been trying to get a hold of him for a few days ... I could tell something was up. But he was joking and laughing, talking about how he was planning a wedding in South Carolina, talking about the people he was going to invite."

  Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images
Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images

Ryan continued, saying, "And then he said he didn't want to read it, because he didn't want to get in the way of whatever notes the studio might have, so he was like, 'It's better if I read it later.' But I found out later that he was too tired to read anything."

  Matt Kennedy / Marvel / Disney / Everett Collection
Matt Kennedy / Marvel / Disney / Everett Collection

In an interview with Variety, Letitia Wright recalled one of the last things she heard pertaining to Chadwick, which involved him joking about Ryan's very long script for Black Panther 2.

Chadwick and the rest of the Black Panther cast taking a group photo with Lupita Nyong'o holding the camera phone
Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

"I remember just hearing through the grapevine that even though Chadwick was really unwell, he was making fun of how long it was, because the script was about 300 pages,” Letitia said. "That’s Ryan's process; he puts everything on the page, he sends it off to Chad, and they sit and discuss."

From left to right: Nakia, T'Challa, and Shuri looking off-screen
Marvel / Disney / Everett Collection

Of course, following Chadwick's death, the script that Ryan had wanted to share with him changed significantly. Namely, the sequel's focus shifted from King T'Challa to Shuri, who is now front and center as she now learns to live without her brother, who has been with her since day one.

Shuri looking cotemplative
Annette Brown / Marvel

"Letitia was hired because she, No. 1, was a great actor, but No. 2, she provided a levity to the film," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Variety. "Now the entire weight of the movie and of the kingdom of Wakanda was on her shoulders in the next movie in a way that obviously no one expected."

  Marvel / Disney / Everett Collection
Marvel / Disney / Everett Collection

Several "core elements" to that original draft remain in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — namely, Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) being the film's antagonist and the introduction of Talokan, his home and an advanced civilization that rivals Wakanda.

Namor standing in water
Eli Adé / Marvel Studios

While the film we see might not have been the original plan, I just know Wakanda Forever is going to be another masterclass MCU movie led by Ryan Coogler and this all-star cast of actors, who wanted nothing more than to honor Chadwick Boseman's legacy.

A closeup of Chadwick
Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for Disney

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Nov. 11.