Marvel Cinematic Universe star Chadwick Boseman filmed his last scene as King T’Challa long before his 2020 death. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more for fans who miss him as Black Panther. Check out the first look at his reprisal of the character in What If…?
Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020
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On August 28, 2020, a post on Boseman’s official Instagram account revealed his death. “Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV,” came the message from his family. “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Boseman’s death came as a shock to those around them, as he kept his illness a secret from his co-workers. In the days and weeks that followed, everyone, from MCU actors through those he only met or briefly interacted with in Hollywood, shared their grief over his untimely death.
His final film role, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ debuted months later
Boseman continued working into his last year of life. His final feature film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, shot during the summer of 2019. In the movie, Boseman portrays Levee, a trumpet player looking to make his mark on the music scene. The film is based on the play of the same name, about the titular real-life blues singer (portrayed by Viola Davis).
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premiered in theaters on November 25, 2020. It debuts on Netflix on December 18, 2020. Boseman is already nominated for a posthumous Gotham Award for his performance and is expected to receive other nods, including an Academy Award nomination.
Boseman wasn’t able to film ‘Black Panther 2’ before his death
In July 2019, Marvel released its slate of upcoming films at San Diego Comic-Con. Among them was Black Panther 2, with an expected release date of May 2022. Though no plot details were released at the time, Boseman planned to return in his role of T’Challa. But he didn’t get to shoot a single scene.
“I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see,” Black Panther writer-director Ryan Coogler wrote in a tribute (via Deadline). “It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.”
He’ll reprise the character in the Disney+ series ‘What If…?’
Fortunately for devastated MCU fans, T’Challa isn’t completely gone. Though Marvel quickly assured the public that they would not be recasting the role, Boseman had already recorded his scenes in the upcoming animated Disney+ series What If…?, which reimagines key moments audiences have already seen.
On December 10, 2020, a Disney investors meeting led to the release of multiple Marvel trailers. Amid the fresh announcements, the company shared a teaser for What If…?, featuring characters such as Yondu (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Peggy Carter (Captain America: The First Avenger). And Boseman’s T’Challa gets a new journey of his own.