Two years ago today, the world was stunned by the news of Boseman’s passing. The actor had risen to fame as Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. In total, he appeared as T’Challa in four films, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. The Black Panther solo film was groundbreaking for being the first major superhero movie starring an African-American actor and a predominantly Black cast. It has gone on to be ranked among Marvel’s best films, and it was the first MCU film to be nominated for Best Picture, earning the nod at the 2018 Oscars.
Fans embraced Boseman as their one and only Black Panther, and the actor was on his way to superstardom. What no one knew, not even his co-stars, was that he was secretly undergoing treatment for colon cancer for four years, having been diagnosed with the disease in 2016. Marvel fans worldwide were both stunned and heartbroken when news broke that Boseman had passed away on Aug. 28, 2020. By December’s Disney Investor’s Day, Marvel chief Kevin Feige said that the studio would not recast the role of T’Challa, leaving many to wonder who would take up the Black Panther mantle for Wakanda Forever.
At July’s San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel unveiled its breathtaking Wakanda Forever trailer. As much as fans were hyped for Namor, Ironheart, and the mystery of the new Black Panther, the trailer served as a solemn tribute to Boseman as the fictional nation mourned its fallen king.
Just as Wakanda wept for T’Chall, so, too, did Reddit weep for Boseman.
User sudynim captured the moment with a quote from T’Challa himself: “In my culture, death is not the end.”
“I was watching What If a week ago, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: This was his last performance, and it was hard to see what I was watching for a few episodes after that,” wrote darcmosch, who captured the bitter-sweetness of Boseman’s final words as T’Challa in What If…?