“I’ve got to be in there too”: Black Panther 2 Director Ryan Coogler Had to Learn Swimming to Direct Underwater Scenes as Namor Actor Tenoch Huerta Lied About it to Grab the Role

“I’ve got to be in there too”: Black Panther 2 Director Ryan Coogler Had to Learn Swimming to Direct Underwater Scenes as Namor Actor Tenoch Huerta Lied About it to Grab the Role
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The filming of Black Panther 2 was a roller coaster of blockades, emotions, complications, and adventure. The project which went into production in 2018 and was halted and resumed multiple times along the way finally wrapped up filming by late March 2022. As such, its expected release date was delayed by several months as well. One of the unexpected hurdles that had been encountered while on set was the director and the primary antagonist’s inability to swim.


Ryan Coogler now revealed to Variety how the filming process had come along for the crew of Black Panther 2 considering a major portion of the plot had to be filmed underwater.

Black Panther 2
A still from Black Panther 2

Also read: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review – A Triumph Of Unbreakable Spirit


Ryan Coogler Learns to Swim For Black Panther 2‘s Shooting

The audience was not surprised to learn that Tenoch Huerta exaggerated a few things on his resume to land the role of Namor the Sub-Mariner in MCU’s blockbuster event, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The actor did in fact learn to swim in order to secure the role as the primary antagonist of the film. Black Panther 2 director Ryan Coogler was in the same boat as well when it came to his skills in the water.

Given how the film introduces the underwater world of the mesoamerican Talokan civilization, despite exploiting Marvel’s impressive VFX department, there were scenes that required to be shot underwater on location. And that was a feat that challenged the director to get hands-on with his crew, considering he couldn’t simply send in his assistant director to do the job for him.

“If the camera’s in the water, actors are in the water, I’ve got to be in there too. I had to figure out how to swim, so I could direct this movie.”

Ryan Coogler with Chadwick Boseman on the set of Black Panther
Ryan Coogler with Chadwick Boseman on the set of Black Panther

Also read: Black Panther 2 Leaves Behind The Rock’s Hobbs & Shaw and Tenet With Humongous Budget, Sets Hollywood History For Black Star Led Movies


The director goes on to say, “A lot of us were raised to have fear of water,” perhaps as a recounting of the socio-historical implications of the Black people and their ancestral trauma of death by drowning at birth or during their voyage across the Atlantic in order to escape institutionalized oppression. To have overcome generations of ideological beliefs to pursue the Black Panther sequel’s narrative to a completion speaks volumes about the dedication shown to bring the story to life.

The Realization of Ryan Coogler’s Vision in Black Panther 2

For Ryan Coogler, simply learning to span the waves was not enough. The young and gifted director gave his heart and soul to the production of the Black Panther sequel since the 2018 film’s unchecked success and record-breaking history. The Chadwick Boseman-led solo superhero film reshaped Black representation on screen and secured the position of the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time, until 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick knocked the movie off its rightful throne.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continues Boseman's legacy
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continues Boseman’s legacy

Also read: “It’s the most important movie Marvel has ever made”: Kevin Feige Claims Black Panther 2 is MCU’s Most Ambitious Movie To Date Leaving Behind Avengers: Endgame


However, the efforts were soon rewarded when Coogler initiated the process of getting the sequel into motion. Then came the death of Chadwick Boseman, a tragedy that rocked the very core of the industry, the COVID-19 pandemic, the injuries sustained by Letitia Wright who was next in line to the throne, her alleged anti-vax campaign, and its repercussions across the Atlantic. 4 long years later, the film which was meant to be, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and with it came a crushing wave of nostalgia, rehashing of the past, and healing of the grief left behind by one remarkable man.

Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa
Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa

Also read: “Letitia Wright seriously proved she can be the face of this franchise”: Black Panther 2 Early Reviews Hail Shuri as the One True Successor to Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa

The judiciously poignant storyline of the sequel navigates the journey of the in-universe characters in the aftermath of their leader’s passing and ties inherently with the consequences of Chadwick Boseman’s premature death in August 2020. It was only appropriate that the sequel, which in itself proved monumental in its ambition, would give its all into production to fulfill the enduring legacy of the late gifted actor.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuts on November 11, 2022.

Source: Variety


Written by Diya Majumdar

Articles Published: 1556

With a degree in Literature from Miranda House, Diya Majumdar now has above 1500 published articles on FandomWire. Her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema while being a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh. Other skills include being the proud owner of an obsessive collection of Spotify playlists.