Coogler spoke with DX about the Black Panther sequel, which hits theaters on November 11, and said he knew the K. Dot and Tems were the only artists that could ensure the film’s first trailer packed a punch.
“We were taking very seriously how we would come back to audiences,” Coogler told DX. “And that trailer is that first sign of what the film is going to be and it was very important to us that we didn’t misrepresent it. You know, that we leaned into what the audiences were going to get without giving away the movie. We wanted to protect the viewing experience and I thought that a song would be a great way to do it. But I wanted to do a song in a new way.”
He continued, “We were going to Nigeria to work with Tems and her career has just skyrocketed in the last few years and we were excited about that and we thought what if we had Tems do a cover of [No Woman, No Cry]? So we met up with Tems in her hotel room in Lagos with her team and she covered the Bob beautifully with Ludwig Göransson producing and he put it together…I’ve never been prouder in my career of introducing a film to an audience in that way.”
Coogler went on to say that he and his team ultimately decided on a mash-up of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” because of his personal music history.
“Really the 90s is when I was really consuming music,” Coogler said. “And what I remember about the 90s is that bridge, ‘Everything is gonna be alright’ would pop back up in songs. There was Father MC with Jodeci, my parents had the CD for that, ‘Everything is gonna be alright, let the music take control.’ I remember loving that song.”
He added, “Then there was the Naughty By Nature song “Ghetto Bastard” (Everything’s Gonna Be Alright)…’ so I was thinking about how just the bridge on ‘No Woman’ translated, and that Kendrick’s ‘Alright’ was like an evolution of that bridge, but a more declarative version of it. So what if we did a direct thruline in the trailer and that’s how that idea was born.”
While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has plenty to be hyped about, fans were particularly excited when it was revealed that Rihanna would be contributing two new songs to the project. Ryan Coogler told DX RiRi’s involvement in the movie was due to “divine timing.”
“It felt right for us because motherhood is a massive theme in this movie,” Coogler said. “And that was kind of timing up for her. In a similar way, when we were finishing the first film, Kendrick was kind of inheriting this crown. What was the chances of us making this movie and Rihanna becoming a mom?”