Fans, friends and former collaborators are still struggling to come to terms with the death of Chadwick Boseman, who passed away at the end of August following a battle against colon cancer that only his inner circle even knew he was fighting. The actor worked through the pain barrier and made seven movies after his diagnosis, including taking on his career-defining role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther and gruelling turns in action-heavy thriller 21 Bridges and Spike Lee’s Vietnam war drama Da 5 Bloods.
Boseman had already completed his work on Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom before his untimely passing as well, with the streaming service set to release the adaptation of August Wilson’s play this December 18th. George C. Wolfe directs the big screen version of the story, with Academy Award winner Viola Davis playing the title character and Boseman as ambitious musician Levee. We still don’t have a trailer, unfortunately, but character posters featuring the two leads have now been released, and you can check them out below.
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It’s going to be an incredibly bittersweet experience for subscribers watching Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, as it marks Boseman’s final appearance in a live-action movie, although he’ll make his MCU swansong next year in an episode of animated series What If…? that imagines what would happen if T’Challa ended up becoming a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy instead of the king of Wakanda.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is being positioned as an awards season contender by Netflix, and while it still might find itself in the running for some major prizes, the movie’s enduring legacy will now be that of the title to feature the final performance of a phenomenal actor and wonderful human being that was taken far too soon.