He explained that, when they premiered footage from the first film at the convention back in 2017, “sitting next to me right next to my left was our T’Challa, the late, great Chadwick Boseman.”
“The cast, including Chad, they hadn’t seen the footage yet, so when we played it he was right next to me and he was excited,” he continued. “He grabbed my left shoulder with his hand and, if you ever saw Chadwick in person, he had these enormous hands. They were gigantic; it was part of the reason why he filled out the Panther suit so well.”
And they apparently packed a serious punch.
“He was really, really strong and he was getting excited as the clip went on and on, longer and longer, he was just squeezing down on my shoulder the whole time,” Coogler joked about Boseman. “When it went off, he was like, ‘Oh, man, that was amazing! Congratulations!’ And I couldn’t even lift my arm.”
The moment left a deep impression—literally—on the director. “I felt his hand the rest of that day for a few hours,” he said. “Standing here with y’all right now—listening to that music from those artists and thinking about it all—I promise you I can feel his hand on me right now.”
“Chad is no longer with us physically, but his spirit, his passion, his genius, his pride and his culture and the impact that he made on this industry will be felt forever,” Coogler added. “We put our love for Chadwick into this film.”
Watch the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever below.