Ryan Coogler, one of the most exciting young talents in the filmmaking game, has observed a seismic rise to prominence over the past decade. In 2013, the American director won the top audience and grand jury awards in the US dramatic competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for his first feature film, Fruitvale Station. Growing from strength to strength, he directed the seventh film in the Rocky franchise, Creed, and then hit his early peak with the Marvel film Black Panther in 2018.
Black Panther was released to unprecedented critical acclaim and broke several box office records. The film also marked a significant achievement for Coogler as it became the highest-grossing film of all time to have been directed by an African American. With his follow-up sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, coming up later this year, Marvel fans are waiting with bated breath to see what twists and turns the 36-year-old director will weave this time.
With such a high level of acclaim for the first Black Panther film, it’s safe to assume that Coogler won’t be plagued with many serious regrets, but there was a scene that he finds himself dwelling on to this day.
In Coogler’s third feature film and his first from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he decided to kill off Ulysses Klaue (portrayed by Andy Serkis), one of his favourite characters. The charismatic salesman makes his living by selling weapons of mass destruction and meets his demise after encountering a black ops US Navy SEAL nicknamed “Killmonger”.
According to The Toronto Sun, Coogler is still pretty upset that he had to kill Klaue but insisted that it was necessary for the integrity of the narrative. “I like Klaue,” Coogler said. “I was bugged by having to do that. It’s tough when you have to kill characters off, and I really did love that character.”
Still, Klaue’s death was entirely necessary to move the story forward, especially in a film littered with so many absorbing and intriguing characters. “I love Andy,” he continued to say about the motion capture master. “He’s a lovely person. But again, it’s one of those things where when you’ve got so many people in a movie, some of them have to go.”
Relive the moment of Ulysses Klaue’s death in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther below.