The announcement of Chadwick Boseman's passing from cancer on Aug. 28 was a shock to Marvel fans everywhere. The actor, who had played roles like James Brown in Get On Up and Jackie Robinson in 42, was a beloved figure. The news was an especially heartbreaking shock, because his illness was not widely known, and there has been an outpouring of grief over the beloved actor in the days since his death. Among the most moving tributes is Marvel's video for Chadwick Boseman, which celebrates his role as the Black Panther, the first Black big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero and an inspiration to so many fans.
Boseman was a fantastic actor and artist. But he was also a savvy player, recognizing the long game of taking the title role of Black Panther. In his written tribute to Boseman, Black Panther's director Ryan Coogler said Boseman could see the film's potential, even as Coogler doubted the Marvel movie could or would have that big of an impact.
When preparing for the film, he would ponder every decision, every choice, not just for how it would reflect on himself, but how those choices could reverberate. 'They not ready for this, what we are doing… This is Star Wars, this is Lord of the Rings, but for us… and bigger!'
Stories like that fill Marvel's latest tribute video to Boseman, which celebrates the late actor's life and work.
The hardest part of the video is that — with Boseman's death so new, and so sudden — the video is made up of those like Coogler talking about Boseman in the present tense. From actors like Letitia Wright to producers like Kevin Feige, all of these interviews praising Boseman's work were filmed when he was alive — and when no one knew he would be gone so soon.
Also, there were so many roles for him to play in the future, including another round of Black Panther. As Coogler said it:
I spent the last year preparing, imagining, and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.
Audiences won't get another chance to see those takes or hear him say those words either. It's a shocking loss, a hole the MCU will struggle to fill from here on out.
As Boseman himself says at the end of the video: "When done right, it gives people hope." Boseman did Black Panther right, and his legacy will reflect that for decades to come.