Letitia Wright Calls Ryan Coogler a Collaborative Leader on ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Set

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is almost here. As highly-anticipated as the film is, it has had its fair share of issues. From the death of the leading man, Chadwick Boseman, to Letitia Wright’s anti-vax scandal, it seems the movie has had to contend with a lot.

Despite the issues plaguing Wakanda Forever, the Marvel Studios production wrapped. And the cast members have had nothing but good things to say. Wright recently showered returning writer-director Ryan Coogler with praise, calling him a collaborative leader on set.

Letitia Wright on ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ director Ryan Coogler

letitia wright ryan coogler black panther
(L-R) Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Zinzi Evans, and Ryan Coogler attend the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019, in Hollywood, California. | Steve Granitz/WireImage

Ryan Coogler received praise and recognition when he directed the first Black Panther movie in 2018. The movie was a historic and pivotal moment as it featured a predominantly Black cast and crew. Given the first film’s success, it’s no surprise that Marvel brought him back for another.

Marvel confirmed the sequel was in development in 2019, with Coogler negotiating his return as the director. When Boseman died, Marvel decided not to recast his character T’Challa to pay homage to the fallen actor. Many of the other main cast members reprise their roles, including Wright as T’Challa’s sister, Shuri.

In Summer 2022, the studio dropped a teaser trailer for Wakanda Forever, creating a lot of buzz. Fans are excited to see their favorite characters return and are particularly curious as to who will be the next Black Panther. During San Diego Comic-Con, the cast spoke with Entertainment Weekly about this and more.

Wright spoke highly of Coogler and his “integrity.” She said, “there’s not many directors like Ryan out there. The soul and the heart of the film– it starts with the writing. He has a sensitivity to our ideas and how we want to collaborate.” The star called working with Coogler “a dream come true,” deeming him “phenomenal.”

Ryan Coogler said he made ‘Black Panther’ to ‘tell epic stories’

Ryan Coogler got the call to make Black Panther after finishing work on the Rocky reboot Creed with Michael B. Jordan. He told Rolling Stone that he had been struggling with his cultural identity and wanted to figure out what it meant to be African when he got the call.

Coogler had only worked on Creed and Fruitvale Station when he was tapped for the project, but even then, he knew he “wanted to tell epic stories that felt big and fantastic.” Coogler told the outlet that before he signed onto the project, he was very upfront with the studio on the direction he wanted to go, and they were onboard.

Coogler said that when writing his version of Wakanda, he thought back to the stories he used to hear as a child of the people in Africa being kings and queens and where everyone was free and thriving, and it sounded like Wakanda.

Ryan Coogler is ‘revolutionary’ in film

In preparation, Coogler traveled to South Africa. He also partnered with a diverse cast, including Lupita Nyong’o, who’s from Kenya; Daniel Kaluuya, who has Ugandan roots; John Kani from South Africa; and Danai Gurira, an American whose parents are from Zimbabwe.

He also hired Black actors from Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. Speaking about his time on set, Kaluuya said, “It’s a work environment I’ve never really had in this industry before. The majority of the crew was Black, Or a lot more than usual.” He called working with Coogler “revolutionary.”

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