Wakanda Forever: A Tribute to a True Hero
Chadwick Boseman made history as T’challa both on and off the screen. Black Panther broke multiple records and continues to be cherished around the world. No one was expecting the heartbreaking passing of the beloved actor, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever created a new hero while honoring Chadwick.
The passing of Boseman was felt around the world, but it was deeply felt by the cast and crew. The mission quickly became to honor his legacy while creating a way for The Black Panther mantle to continue. Director Ryan Coogler discussed the original plot of the sequel in an interview with “The New York Times,” a plot focused on the loss of time caused by the blip between T’challa and his son. Having his son take on the mantle was considered before deciding it did not capture the significance and reality of the loss felt on-screen and off-screen. The challenge became honoring a fictional hero and a true hero all in one project, a task that was personal to everyone on set.
Recasting Chadwick after his passing was never considered because of the heroism he demonstrated off-screen. During his life, Chadwick Boseman donated $4.2 million worth of personal protection equipment to hospitals during the pandemic, regularly visited children’s hospitals, and created multiple charity organizations within Disney. His dedication to the Boys and Girls Club of America caused Disney to donate one million dollars towards the STEM division, which they matched for Wakanda Forever. Chadwick also donated part of his salary to Sienna Mills during the filming of 21 Bridges to combat pay disparity in Hollywood.
The solution to honoring Chawick was a collaborative rewrite approach that allowed actors a chance to show their grief, resulting in chilling performances throughout the film. This process allowed Angela Bassett some creative freedom, winning her the Golden Globe for best supporting actress. It is important to note for future marvel films that the villain plot lines were essential to both drafts of the film and future films’ interconnectivity.
Chadwick’s legacy continues through his charity focused on the creation of scholarships for African Americans pursuing the arts and the longstanding impact his efforts had on the Disney Company. Howard University and Netflix partnered to create $5.4 million worth of scholarships in his honor. Howard University has also renamed its fine arts program after him. Black Panther Wakanda Forever is a project made to continue the work of a passionate artist and leader.
Black Panther Wakanda Forever is a film marked by its ability to continue the story of a beloved character and actor after a tragic event in such a personable way. Rarely does an actor come along that changes the world on and off screen the way Chadwick Boseman has. True heroes never die; they live on by their impact on others. When you head out to watch the movie on the big screen, remember to wear white to honor Chadwick, you'll quickly understand why during the opening scenes.
Writer: Alyssa Giaccone
Artist: Alyssa Giaccone