Based on the glowing tributes from the cast and crew of Black Panther that have been paid to Chadwick Boseman since his recent passing, the actor was much more than just the leading man, he was also keenly involved in the development and execution of what turned out to be a watershed moment for blockbuster cinema.
Director Ryan Coogler and co-star Michael B. Jordan have both spoken at length about how integral Boseman was to the success of the movie on both a personal and professional level, and the 43 year-old clearly held a special place in his heart for T’Challa. Even if memes were frequently making the rounds about how tired he was getting of having to constantly pull the Wakanda Forever salute at every public appearance, red carpet and awards show.
Boseman may be gone now, but his legacy will live on through both the Black Panther franchise itself and the countless doors that the movie kicked down, and with Hollywood in the midst of a huge push to increase diversity and representation, the Best Picture nominee will go down in history as one of the major catalysts for change.
It also transpires though that the actor was responsible for villain Killmonger’s final line in the script, which turned out to be one of the most powerful pieces of dialogue to be found in Black Panther. Coogler originally had Killmonger asking to be buried in Wakanda, but Boseman’s input ended up seeing it being changed to something with a lot more emotional impact, and you can read the line in question below.
“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.”
Not only does this sum up Erik Stevens’ arc across the entire movie, but it also encapsulates the message of Black Panther as a whole, one that saw the both film and the title hero quickly ascend to iconic status.