Black Panther 2 director Ryan Coogler has opened up about the emotional toll of working on the Marvel sequel without Chadwick Boseman, describing it as the “hardest thing” he’s ever had to do in his career. Boseman, who played Black Panther in the 2018 movie, tragically passed away of colon cancer last August. The loss affected not only his family, but the co-workers and fans who came to know Boseman’s inspiring talent and infectious spirit.

On an episode of the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast, Coogler got personal about working on Black Panther 2 in the wake of Boseman’s passing. As he put it, Boseman’s portrayal of T'Challa was the “glue” that held the project together. “This is one of the more profound things that I’ve ever gone through in my life, having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person,” said Coogler.

The 34-year-old filmmaker, also known for Fruitvale Station and Creed, also expressed the importance of being grounded in multiple areas of his life. “That said, you have a personal life, you have a professional life, you got a private life. When you work in something that you love, those things blend, they come together right?" Coogler continued. “Your life kind of becomes your work for the better part of it. So, I’m trying to find a work-life balance, so I’m working on building two things that can stand on their own.”

Coogler also admitted that finding such a balance is process that takes a long time. “I’m not there yet,” he stated. “But, this is without question, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my professional life.” Marvel announced months ago that Boseman’s character would be neither recast nor recreated using CGI. Therefore, Coogler’s story will focus on other citizens of Wakanda. Hopefully, it will also be an opportunity to create some closure for fans of the beloved superhero and the dedicated actor behind him.

Black Panther 2 is scheduled to be released in June of 2022.

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