When news broke on August 28th, 2020, that Chadwick Boseman, a superhero among men, passed away of cancer; well, it’s a feeling that’s almost indescribable. If you ask fans of Boseman if they remember the moment, they can likely tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.
Fans weren’t the only ones shocked and heartbroken. As more news broke, it was realized that Boseman didn’t share his cancer journey with many people. In fact, only a few people on a need-to-know basis were made aware of his diagnosis.
His loss shocked everyone and is deeply felt by those who knew and loved him in their personal and professional lives. So when the cast of Black Panther got together to begin work on the upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it was quite certainly a very bittersweet experience.
Marvel and Disney have stated that the role of T’Challa won’t be recast, and they don’t intend to use effects to ‘recreate’ the actor in the next film, either. Boseman was meant to play the role of Black Panther, and anything that would put someone else in those shoes seems almost unfair.
Angela Bassett spoke with The Guardian recently and shared what it was like to be on set without Boseman and how the cast and crew came together to celebrate him.
“Everyone felt, the first week of shooting, the presence of Chadwick and missing him on that throne, but we all came together and just paid homage to him before we began, which was wonderful … everyone just speaking beautiful words about him and expressing how much we care and how he informed and inspired us.”
While all that fans really know about the upcoming film so far is its name, it’s easy to imagine that some homage will be paid to Boseman and T’Challa in the movie. Their culture honored death, and T’Challa dealing with the loss of his father was a big part of his character arc.
“In my culture, death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping-off point. You reach out with both hands, and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into a green veld where… you can run forever.”