Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler Says He’s ‘Broken’ By Chadwick Boseman’s Death

by : Lucy Connolly on : 31 Aug 2020 11:46
Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler Says He's 'Broken' By Chadwick Boseman's DeathPA Images/Marvel Studios

The director of Black Panther has paid a heartfelt tribute to Chadwick Boseman, saying he has been left ‘broken’ by his death.

The actor died in his Los Angeles home last week at the age of 43 with his wife and family by his side. He had been suffering with colon cancer for four years, although it wasn’t until after his passing that his diagnosis was made public.


In recent days, tributes have poured in from those in the industry and from his fans, who have been coming to terms with his death in their own way. Now, Ryan Coogler has paid tribute to leading man Boseman in an open letter.

 Ryan Coogler Chadwick BosemanPA Images

In the emotional note, Coogler said he ‘wasn’t privy’ to the details of the actor’s illness, saying he only realised after Boseman’s death he had been ‘living with his illness the entire time [he] knew him’.

‘Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering,’ the filmmaker continued, as per The Hollywood Reporter. ‘He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was.’


Coogler went on to describe his friend and colleague as an ‘epic firework display’, adding: ‘I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.’

Chadwick BosemanPA Images

The director recalled how he first saw Boseman as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War while sitting in an editorial suite trying to decide whether directing Black Panther was ‘the right choice’ for him.

He said he will ‘never forget’ watching the actor’s scenes, noting how impressed he was of Boseman’s choice to make the African language of Xhosa the character’s native tongue – especially when he found out he had learned the lines in Xhosa less than a day. ‘It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make this movie,’ Coogler said.


‘I couldn’t conceive how difficult that must have been, and even though I hadn’t met Chad, I was already in awe of his capacity as actor,’ he continued. Then, when they eventually met – after Boseman sneaked into a hotel during the director’s junket for Creed – the filmmaker knew the actor was special.

black pantherMarvel Studios

Coogler, who had been working on Black Panther 2, explained:

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…

I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.

It hurts more to know that we can’t have another conversation, or FaceTime, or text message exchange. He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic. He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer.

Ryan CooglerPA Images
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Coogler ended his tribute by describing Boseman as an ‘ancestor’, adding: ‘I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again.’

Our thoughts are with Chadwick’s loved ones at this difficult time.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Film and TV, Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, Death, Film, Now


The Hollywood Reporter
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Pens Emotional, Beautiful Tribute to Chadwick Bosemanional, Beautiful Tribute to Chadwick Boseman