Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has commemorated the life and artistic vision of the film’s star Chadwick Boseman, who died on Thursday aged 43.
In a statement released on Monday morning, Coogler recalled being moved by Boseman’s first turn as the superhero in Captain America: Civil War, and the star’s authentic impact on the imagined African nation of Wakanda.
Boseman was pivotal in the decision to use the “ancient, powerful, and African” Xhosa language in the Marvel movie saga, Coogler said.
“The decision to have Xhosa be the official language of Wakanda was solidified by Chad, a native of South Carolina, because he was able to learn his lines in Xhosa, there on the spot,” Coogler said.
“He also advocated for his character to 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.”
Coogler said he didn’t initially believe in the potential impact of Black Panther, but saw confidence in Boseman since day dot – despite the star’s 2016 diagnosis of bowel cancer.
“I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing,” Coogler said.
“But I look back and realize that Chad knew something we all didn’t. He was playing the long game. All while putting in the work. And work he did.”
The director said he wasn’t “privy to the details of his illness.”
“After his family released their statement, I realised that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. 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,” Coogler said, adding, “from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him.”
You can read Coogler’s full statement, via BBC, right here.
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It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. Photo Credit: @samjonespictures