Boseman had also fought to have the first black superhero speak with an African accent “so that he could present T’Challa to audiences as an African king, whose dialect had not been conquered by the West”.
As Coogler got to know Boseman, he immediately recognized “Chad” as “an anomaly” due to his kind and warm nature and his determination to be “constantly studying”, and admits the late actor was the one who predicted Black Panther to be the groundbreaking film it was for black culture, even as the director was doubting his own abilities to bring the story together onscreen.
Although the pair was close, the filmmaker “wasn’t privy” to Boseman’s health crisis, and had no idea how much he had been suffering away from the cameras: “After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him,” Coogler marvelled. “Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. 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.”
“I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before,” he continued. “I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say (in Black Panther 2), 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.