As if 2020 hasn’t done enough harm, August 28 of this year came with another punch in the gut.
The tragic death of renowned actor Chadwick Boseman shook the world to its core.
Well-known and well-respected for his depictions of T’Challa in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, Jackie Robinson in 42, Andre Davis in 21 Bridges, and many more, the 43 year-old actor passed away from an illness that he kept hidden from the public.
In 2016, he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, and by 2020, it progressed to stage IV.
Despite his concealed sickness, Boseman incredibly continued working, serving as a role model to young people everywhere. He was in many ways a hero both on and off screen.
His portrayal of the avenger “T’Challa” in Black Panther allowed him to serve as a role model for people of color especially, opening an awareness of black identity and pride.
Boseman explained the importance of his character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to USA Today: “This experience is an opening for people’s consciousness,” he remarked. “Their boundaries should be shaken and moved. There’s a hero here that I hope people grow to love.”
Although an incredible actor, Boseman proved to be an even more incredible person.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, along with many of Boseman’s colleagues and fans, took to social media to celebrate his heroism in real life.
“Two years ago, Chadwick visited the St. Jude campus and brought with him not only toys for our patients but also joy, courage and inspiration,” St. Jude posted to Twitter.
Even when battling his own illness, Boseman made time for others and tried to bring joy and light to anyone he could.
He achieved the same goal in two incredibly different ways – through his work as an actor, to audiences across the world in need of his characters’ strength and power, and through his service to others, in need of a real life superhero.
With the news of Boseman’s death, fans have been questioning what is to become of Black Panther 2, which is scheduled to be released in 2022.
One idea the writers are playing around with is to write T’Challa out of the movie altogether. The plan would be to give him an offscreen death and then have his younger sister Shuri, who appeared in the first Black Panther movie, assume his position of protector of Wakanda and title of the “Black Panther.” This, of course, is subject to change over the next year, and the film will certainly not be the same without Boseman.
“I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say that we weren’t destined to see,” wrote Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. “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.”
Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther, and the legacy that they leave will continue to serve as inspirations to viewers. Both have proven time and time again to be testaments to heroism of all kinds, and Boseman remains a role model to audiences across the world.
Although Boseman himself now rests in power, the legacy he left through his work and his service to others will carry on.