"I was at a point when I was like, 'I'm walking away from this business,'" Ryan said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
He continued, "I didn't know if I could make another movie period, [let alone] another Black Panther movie, because it hurt a lot. I was like, 'Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?'"
But as he reflected on his final conversations with Chadwick, Ryan knew he had to move forward.
"I was poring over a lot of our conversations that we had, toward what I realized was the end of his life. I decided that it made more sense to keep going," Ryan shared.
Ryan went on to create Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which allowed him to grieve the loss of Chadwick while carrying on his legacy by expanding it with an entirely new story.
"It's my job as a filmmaker to do things that I have personal integrity with. If I don't believe in what I'm doing, I'm going to have a hard time getting other people to do their best work," he said.
Ryan continued, "At the end of the day, the choices we make have to feel truthful to me. When filmmakers make things that don't feel truthful to them, you can feel it. And I will argue that those projects don't have a shot at working."
And while filming the movie was emotional at times, he poured that into the movie's themes of loss and maturation.
"There's that idea of grief and intense emotion feeling like it comes in waves," he said. "Sometimes, a wave can take you away where you lose control of it. You think you're in control, but the water can always remind you that you're not."