. . . They live forever,
as do the ones they inspire
to carry on the fight.
– The Watcher
in Episode 6 of What If...?
in Episode 6 of What If...?
Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick died of colon cancer on August 28, 2020. He was 43.
Although known and celebrated for several acting roles, Chadwick is undoubtedly best known for playing T’Challa aka Black Panther in the Marvel films Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Chadwick also voiced alternate versions of the character of Black Panther in the first season of the animated series What If...? (2021).
The sequel to Black Panther is set to be released on November 11, and is entitled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The film focuses on the leaders of Wakanda, who in the wake of King T’Challa’s death, must fight to protect their nation from the invading forces of Namor, aka Sub-Mariner, ruler of Talocan, an ancient civilization of underwater dwelling people connected to the Mayans.
In marking the second anniversary of Chadwick’s death, I share the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a film that millions around the world are looking forward to seeing, even as we know it will be a very emotional and bittersweet experience without the presence of Chadwick Boseman.
There have been a number of videos made and posted on YouTube that analyze the above official trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. One of the best ones I've come across is the one below by New Rockstars. Just a heads-up: this video is of 20 minutes duration.
Following is how Wikipedia documents the development and making of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. [Black Panther director] Ryan Coogler stated that he had been unaware of Boseman’s illness, and had spent the last year “preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say [in the film] that we weren’t destined to see.”
[Producer] Kevin Feige and other executives at Marvel Studios were also unaware of Boseman’s illness. Boseman, who had become thinner from his illness in the weeks prior to his death, had been prepared to begin gaining the weight back in September 2020 ahead of filming the sequel in March 2021.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, industry observers felt Disney could recast the role, but that might generate a “fan outcry” and prompt comparisons between actors. Another suggestion was for Disney to shift their plans and have [T’Challa’s sister] Shuri take on the mantle of the Black Panther, which occurred in the comic books.
In mid-November of 2020, executive producer Victoria Alonso said a digital double of Boseman would not be created for the sequel, and added that Marvel was taking their time to work out what they were going to do next and how. Later in the month, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett were confirmed to be reprising their roles for the sequel as Nakia, M’Baku, and Ramonda, respectively, while Tenoch Huerta was in talks for an antagonist role [that being of Namor].
In December 2020, Feige confirmed that the role of T’Challa would not be recast, and said the sequel would explore the world and characters of the first film as a way to honor the legacy that Boseman helped build. Feige reaffirmed in January 2021 that visual effects would not be used to include Boseman in the film, and said the primary focus of the sequel was always about further exploring the characters and “different subcultures” of Wakanda.
The first footage from the film was shown in a sizzle reel of Disney’s upcoming films during the studio’s presentation at CinemaCon in April 2022. On July 23, 2022, Feige, Coogler, and the cast promoted the film at the San Diego Comic-Con alongside live performances from singer Baaba Maal, tama player Massamba Diop, and the debut of the teaser trailer. The trailer features a cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” that transitions into Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.”
Both Leah Simpson and Giovana Gelhoren of People called the footage “powerful,” while Sandra Gonzalez of CNN felt the teaser commemorated Boseman’s performance and wrote “amid the grief that permeates the preview, there’s hope, the birth of new life (literally) and a glimpse at the future, with a clawed sneak peek of a new suited hero.”
Writing for IndieWire, Christian Zilko also felt the teaser commemorated Boseman’s performance while also opining that this presented a “daunting" challenge for Marvel Studios for Black Panther’s future, due to Boseman being regarded as "one of the cornerstones of the MCU moving forward” and the studio not recasting his role.
Variety’s Carson Burton and J. Kim Murphy felt the teaser focused on who would “take on the mantle” of Black Panther, noting the presence of a mysterious figure at the end of the trailer.
The teaser trailer received 172 million views in its first 24 hours of release.
I close with a special tribute by ABC News which examines and celebrates Chadwick Boseman’s career, from playing historical figures such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, to T’Challa in Black Panther.
This heartfelt special was first aired on September 1, 2020, just days after Chadwick’s death. I share it below in two parts. The first part is 18 minutes in duration, while the second is 12 minutes.
Related Off-site Links:
Six Reasons Chadwick Boseman Will Forever Be Our King – Leslie D. Rose (Blavity, August 26, 2022).
Lupita Nyong’o Pays Tribute to Chadwick Boseman, Marking Two Years Since Beloved Actor Died – Amanda Taylor (People, August 28, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever First Trailer Unveils Marvel’s Emotional Return to Wakanda and War With Namor – Carson Burton and J. Kim Murphy (Variety, July 23, 2022).
Who Will Be the New Black Panther in Wakanda Forever? – Chris E. Hayner (GameSpot.com, July 28, 2022).
UPDATES: Review: Wakanda Forever Is a Beautiful Expression of Mourning and a Fantasy Epic – Princess Weekes (The Mary Sue, November 8, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Is a Thunderous Ode to Love Conquering Death – Toussaint Egan (Polygon, November 8, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Does the Near Impossible – David Sims (The Atlantic, November 8, 2022).
Tenoch Huerta, Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Explains Why the Movie Got It Right – Arturo Conde and Candice Williams (NBC News, November 10, 2022).
Wakanda Forever Bids Farewell to T’Challa and Chadwick Boseman – Ababeel TV (November 12, 2022).
An Ode to Namor’s Ankle Wings – Brittany Knupper (The Mary Sue, November 13, 2022).
Why Is Marvel Afraid of Namor’s Bulge? – Joshua Rivera (Polygon, November 18, 2022).
Black Panther 2 Star Reacts to Fan Outcry Over “Removed Bulge” – Jordan Hirst (Q News, November 25, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Unearthed Deep Colorism Within Latino Communities – Izzie Ramirez (Vox, November 21, 2022).
How Wakanda Forever’s Creators Decided on New Black Panther, and Major Mid-Credits Reveal – Kevin Polowy (Yahoo! Entertainment, November 21, 2022).
For previous Wild Reed posts about Chadwick and his work, written when he was still with us, see:
• The Important Cultural Moment That Is Black Panther
• Celebrating Black Panther – Then and Now
• “Avengers Assemble!”
• Jason Johnson on Stan Lee’s Revolutionary Legacy
• Another First for Black Panther
• “Something Special,” Indeed!
• Queer Black Panther
For The Wild Reed’s special series that remembers and celebrates Chadwick since his passing, see:
• Remembering Chadwick Boseman
• Honoring An Icon
• Chadwick Boseman’s Timeless Message to Young Voters: “You Can Turn Our Nation Around”
• Chadwick Boseman’s Final Film Role: “A Reed Instrument for Every Painful Emotion”
• Celebrating a Special Day
• Boseman on Wilson
• Chadwick Boseman and That “Heavenly Light”
• In This Time Marked By Grief
• A Bittersweet Accolade
• Chadwick Boseman Receives Posthumous NAACP Image Award
• “He Was Just Interested In the Work”
• Remembering Chadwick Boseman’s Life of Purpose
• The Political Legacy of Chadwick Boseman
• Remembering an Actor Who “Changed Everything”
• “The Perfect Send-Off”
A Special Day