R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman

God damn, another incredible bummer. An incomparable actor who only a few years ago exploded into a pop culture phenomenon… it never would’ve occurred to me that he wouldn’t get a chance to cash in on it. He apparently had an idea, though, quietly fighting cancer for four years, filming movies in between chemo and surgeries.

Of course most know him as King T’Challa, an iconic role in a groundbreaking film that will now take on a different resonance. I was so excited when he got that role because I had seen him in GET ON UP – a movie that I was convinced could not work. And somehow it did. And this actor who I’d never paid attention to before, never heard much about, who was not even a dancer, and had a body type completely unlike that bizarre alien of a man that was the Godfather of Soul… somehow he turned himself into JB in so many ways. The look, the voice, the swagger, the performances, playing him young and old, charismatic and terrifying. Just an astonishing performance.

One thing I appreciated about his performance as Black Panther is that he took it so seriously he invented the Wakandan accent, studying what an African accent could sound like without colonial influence. (The studio had just wanted him to do English.) In interviews he seemed incredibly thoughtful and thorough, and it showed through in his movies.

Obviously I thought we would get more of him as T’Challa, but also I was looking forward to more of him with his own accent. The real Chadwick Boseman seemed to be the most compelling one, and I wish we’d gotten to see more of him. But I’m thankful for what we got.




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16 Responses to “R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman”

  1. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 28th, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    I just scrolled past a post on this on Facebook and honestly couldn’t believe it until I googled it right after. What a shock, and what a shame. So sad…


    This was just so fucked to hear.. this year has been the worst, but this week has been devastating.

    I don’t know if anyone here has seen it but “Message from the King” is a pretty good Chadwick Boseman vehicle on Netflix that gave the man some pretty brutal action beats.

  3. Damn, that’s just a tragedy. Imagine finally getting your big breakthrough while having this dark cloud over your head. Shit like that just terrifies me on a million different existencial levels.

    On a business level, I wonder if Marvel knew and already has an emergency plan. (If they knew, kudos for being able to keep it a secret.)

  4. Even with the sadness or the fear it evokes, I think it’s really important above all to celebrate the courage and the character. All of these films we watch give us metaphors or tidy narrative encapsulations of facing peril, fear, tragedy, and uncertainty and of sacrifice, teamwork, grit, grace under fire, and being about something bigger than yourself. This guy was changing the lives of millions portraying that, really making a difference and especially in the lives of a generation of African American youngsters and adults alike, and all the while he was really living out heroism. A true warrior. Chadwick forever, yo.

  5. Tragic. He was such an under appreciated actor for most of his career. If Chadwick had colon cancer for the last 4 years, he must have gotten the diagnosis before they even started shooting Black Panther.

    I definitely noticed there was something up with his weight, but I don’t think anyone thought he was seriously ill. Personally, I figured he was one of those people who was skinny by default and struggled to put on & keep on weight. I remember first thinking that because he was noticeably skinnier in certain BP and Infinity War. I assumed those scenes were reshoots that Chadwick did in between making other movies.

  6. Here I am celebrating my 43rd birthday when I see the news of his death at 43 and it just hit me with a ton of bricks. We really need to start showing more compassion to people because we never know what struggles they are going through. We should all be so lucky to have his strength. Be good everybody.

  7. Happy birthday, Sterny. I’ll be turning 43 in about a week and a half, and this news has definitely made me ponder my own mortality. It sure makes a lot of the stuff we argue about on this sight seem pretty silly.

  8. Last night my roommate yelled from the other room, “Did you know the main guy from BLACK PANTHER died?” I yelled back, “You mean the creator? The comic book artist?” Because I just couldn’t compute that it’d be Boseman. Such a tragedy and what an amazing man to go through all of that while doing so much amazing work.

  9. This clip of Chadwick Boseman getting emotional about a couple of kids with terminal cancer hanging on so they could see Black Panther was one of the first things I thought about after reading the news this morning:


  10. Yeah this one has really been sticking with me today. I think the word “hero” is a little too easily thrown around these days, but to think about how hard he worked to bring so much joy to so many people while he must have been suffering so terribly, all without a word of complaint…well that’s kinda fuckin’ heroic in my opinion.

  11. This has been on my mind all day. An extraordinary actor for sure but I will just echo the sentiments about how he was able to achieve so much and bring so much joy WHILE fighting for his life, suffering and facing the end of his life—it’s incredibly moving and inspiring. I suspect being able to focus on his work allowed him a respite from his struggle and that actually helped him cope, at least I hope so.

  12. a bolt out of the blue

    f*** 2020

  13. Yeah obviously this hurt from a combo of it coming out of nowhere, robbing us potentially of a movie black movie star/actor who we expected to deliver us work for the next few decades, and obviously me as a Marvel fan as well.

    But what made me tear up was seeing pictures this morning of kids on social media doing tributes for him, like holding via action figures a “funeral” for Black Panther attended by the other superheroes. We’re processing this loss as adults, as movie fans, etc. But I feel for those kids because how they process it is on another level, especially with superheroes. Especially POC kids who felt represented by him.

    Speaking of which, Boseman recorded his episode for WHAT IF…? before he passed. That’s the upcoming Marvel cartoon show for Disney Plus where (like its namesake comic) tell AU versions of MCU events. His episode is “What if T’Challa became Star-Lord?”

  14. Chadwick seemed like a genuinely good person, and he carried his impending personal tragedy with such dignity while leaving behind a body of work that was inspirational and was a vessel for silenced voices. Man was iconic. There are a lot of good actors, but not many who can be iconic*. Not many who could have showed up in his role in ‘Da 5 Bloods’ like he did and just be effortlessly larger than life and legendary like that.

    (*when I watched that ‘Civil War’ movie, it really stood out how Chadwick conveyed all the presence that Captain America was supposed to have but that Evans, as much I like him, just didn’t put through)

    Chadwick Boseman is a legend.

  15. Very shocking. I hadn’t noticed his weight loss, but now looking at photos from the last year of so, it’s glaringly obvious.

    I remember the first time I ever noticed him as an actor was about 10 years ago when his guested in two of my favorite shows at the time: Fringe & Justified. He jumped off the screen and it was obvious he was going places…

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