Robert Downey Jr. Says Black Panther’s The Crowning Achievement Of The Marvel Universe


Last night saw ABC host the commercial-free network premiere of Black Panther, followed by a TV special titled Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for a King. The quickly assembled show featured Boseman’s Marvel Studios colleagues gathering to pay tribute to their friend, including Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Olsen, among others. Talent from behind the camera also appeared, with Joe Russo, Kevin Feige and Bob Iger all talking about what Boseman meant to them.

One of the most touching tributes though came from the father of the MCU, Robert Downey Jr., who spoke about his friendship with Boseman and their recent conversations.

“Six or eight weeks ago, I reached out to him amidst the George Floyd protests and he had such a thoughtful and informative reframe for me as I was on a bit of a listening tour. Black Panther is hands down the crowning achievement of the Marvel universe, and I say that with all due respect to the other films that I have been made, including my own. It was the one where people got to vote with their ticket sales and say we require this overdue diversity. This is a meritocracy, or at least it should be. It is a fantastic movie that levelled the playing field. His legacy is so meaningful … and, and.. there’s a void now.”

Black Panther being the crowning achievement of not just the MCU, but the entire Marvel Universe is a great argument. Since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s groundbreaking work in the 1960s, Marvel Comics have used their heroes as a metaphor for socially progressive causes. Black Panther was created by Lee and Kirby as a way of showing their support for the civil rights movement, including a controversial arc in which the hero battled against the Ku Klux Klan.

The wild success of Black Panther is proof that Lee and Kirby’s philosophies can bear fruit, showing how socially relevant superheroes can inspire people and that there’s strength in diversity. Fortunately, Marvel Studios seem to have taken this message to heart as their upcoming slate of movies features superheroes of many genders, races and sexualities. And long may it last.