The legend and king that touched the hearts of many

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Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

Chadwick Boseman, a beloved actor, played the main character in many well known movies such as Black Panther and 42. He sadly passed on August 28, 2020.

Aldo Suarez, Staff writer

Chadwick Boseman was born on November 26, 1976 in Anderson, South Carolina. He was raised by his parents Carolyn and Leroy Boseman. His mother was a nurse and his father worked at a textile factory, managing an upholstery business as well. While in high school, Boseman wrote his first play, Crossroads, and he debuted the play after one of his classmates got shot and killed.
Boseman wanted to be a writer or a director, and eventually started studying acting to learn how to relate to actors. He graduated from New York´s Digital Film Academy and lived in Brooklyn at the start of his career. He worked as a drama instructor in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, housed at Harlem, New York.
In 2008 he moved to LA to pursue his acting career. He landed his first major role as a series regular on a TV show called Persons Unknown (2010). He got a break in his career in the 42 (2013), a movie about the African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson. While he passed away earlier this year, his career continues with his last movie, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom which is set to come out in 2020.
In 2016, Boseman received a call from Marvel Studios, and he knew immediately that he had been cast as Black Panther for the movie Captain America Civil War. The head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Fiege, knew that the studio didn’t need anyone else for the role. It was made for Boseman.
He has been in at least 15 movies: Lincoln Heights, as Nathaniel Ray (2007-2009); The Expresses as Floyd Little (2008); Persons Unknown as Graham McNair (2010); The Kill Hole as Lt. Samuel Drake (2012); 42 as Jackie Robinson (2013); Get on Up as James Brown (2014); Draft Day as Vontae Mack (2014); Gods of Egypt as Thoth (2016); Message from the King as Jacob King (2016); and then as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War (2016). One year after that he played the famous Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017). Then he played T’Challa in Black Panther (2018) and in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Finally, in the exciting climatic ending of the MCU he played Black Panther in Avengers Endgame (2019). In the same year he played Andre Davis in 21 Bridges (2019). Then he played Stormin in Da 5 Bloods (2020), before his final performance as Leeve in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020). People who worked with Boseman felt that he was a very dedicated actor and worker, and a friend to people on set. He had originally auditioned for the role of Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, and Iron Man 3 before being cast as Black Panther in 2018, according to vulture.com. Sarah Halley Finn was responsible for casting Boseman and she said, “I brought him in to read for Drax and he read the part as if he were a king.” She also said, “When it came to casting Black Panther, it was unanimous. We all were in absolute agreement immediately that he was the person to play this part.”
Everybody at Marvel knew that Boseman was the right person for the role because they recognized his body of work and knew the ability he had to channel this type of dignity, grace, and elegance, with humor, humility, and intelligence. So Kevin Fiege and the Russo Brothers made the call and offered Boseman the role of Black Panther for Captain America Civil War and he accepted.
Even before being cast for Black Panther, Boseman had a vision of what the Black Panther movie would look like. “I can remember several times writing in my journals, ‘That would be a cool thing to see in Black Panther’ – ideas from real life, from real history, or real archaeology or architecture,” according to Detroit News. In any project that Boseman was in he would be involved in way possible. “The projects that I end up doing, that I want to be involved with in any way, have always been projects that will be impactful, for the most part, to my people — to black people,” He was also very excited to help other young black men and women to shine on-screen, like when people see Michael B. Jordan know who he is and can identify themselves with him.
Children from all races love Black Panther, and when Boseman would see them in costume and that they want toys or merch signed, he always enjoyed doing it. His death impacted his fans and coworkers. Celebrities like LeBron James said, “Boseman was elevated to a stage that many Black actors don’t get the chance to occupy, and his ability to be “transcendent” on that stage brought a comic book character to life for many in the Black community” Washington Post.

Photo by Marscella Ling on Unsplash

“Even though we knew that it was like a fictional story, it actually felt real. It actually felt like we finally had our Black superhero and nobody could touch us. So to lose that, it’s sad in our community.”
Boseman kept making movies while having colon cancer because he always wanted to be involved in a project, whether it was filming Avengers Infinity War or Avengers Endgame or even his stand alone film Black Panther. Boseman always made sure to make other characters shine in the spotlight, he always wanted to make people feel more important. He went through several surgeries while filming movies like Captain America Civil War. He kept his colon cancer a secret for four years until after he posted a video and fans immediately started worrying about his health. He had lost so much weight! He said that, before the filming of Black Panther II, he would gain most of the weight back, but he died before that could happen.
Boseman won Favorite Male Movie Star at 2018’s People’s Choice Awards, and had been nominated for many more awards. He had been chosen to speak during the presentation of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award for actor Denzel Washington In June 2019, Washington had been the person that helped Boseman become an actor. During the speech that night, he mentioned that Washington was the one that paid his tuition for a summer program he completed at Harvard University. “He graciously and privately agreed to contribute…Imagine receiving a letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet…There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington,… And not just because of me. My whole cast, that generation, stands on your shoulders.” (Kiro7.com)
Boseman visited the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Tennessee in 2018, and when he died St. Jude’s said this on their Instagram: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Chadwick Boseman. Two years ago, Boseman visited the St. Jude campus and brought with him not only toys for our patients but also joy, courage and inspiration” (wsls.com). Boseman kept in contact with two terminally ill boys while filming Black Panther.
The boys’ parents had told Boseman that their sons were trying to hold on until after the movie came out. In an interview Boseman had broken down and said, “I realized they anticipated something great…It put me back in the mind of being a kid just to experience those two little boys’ anticipation of this movie. … It means a lot” (Fox 40). This interview took place 3 days before the theatrical release of Black Panther.
After Black Panther made $1 billion at the box office, scoring Marvel its first Oscar and Best Picture Nomination, Boseman and Brian Coogler were returning with the intention of making Black Panther II which would have come out in May 6, 2022. With the pandemic the filming schedule wasn’t looking so good, and with Boseman’s passing, fans are left wondering about the fate of the character and the potential series. Fans have tweeted that Marvel shouldn’t recast the character, although it isn’t unusual for Marvel to do so. Mark Ruffalo stepped in for Edward Norton as Hulk, and Don Cheadle took over for Terrence Howard as War Machine, but the fate of Black Panther II is currently unknown. Boseman’s death has left an impact in all of our hearts.