It’s been a journey for Ryan Coogler to arrive at this weekend’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the acclaimed director says the late Chadwick Boseman has been beside him every step of the way.

“We just took it one step at a time,” Coogler said in a recent, lengthy sitdown with Shadow and Act when speaking about putting the sequel together. “We set out our goals, and the goals were to make something that was worthy of our time and worthy of the audience’s time. We knew we wanted to push things forward, we wanted to go deeper with Wakanda, deeper with the characters and also open the world up.”

However, no one could have foreseen the tragic death of Boseman.