Chadwick Boseman Was A Skilled Martial Artist Long Before Filming ‘Black Panther’

Chadwick Boseman, the star of films such as Black Panther, 42, and Get On Up, passed away on Aug. 28 after a years-long battle with colon cancer. His death came as a shock to many, as he had kept his condition private and never spoke about his health to the media, despite speculation from fans that he may have been unwell. 

Before his tragic death, Boseman was one of the most iconic Black actors in the movie business and had established himself as a major force in Hollywood. He had participated in several successful movies, but 2018’s Black Panther was the film that cast him into superstardom. In order to successfully perform his role as King T’Challa, Boseman had to go through extensive training, but few people knew he had a massive advantage over his costars because he already had experience training in martial arts. 

Chadwick Boseman was cast as the Black Panther after unsuccessfully auditioning for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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Although Boseman is known for playing King T’Challa in the Black Panther film franchise, it was not the first film he auditioned for in the Marvel cinematic universe. Not only had he starred in Captian America: Civil War, he’d also auditioned for the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy.

Despite a strong audition for the role of Drax the Destroyer, Boseman did not get the role. It eventually ended up going to former WWE star Dave Bautista, although Boseman later admitted on The Tonight Show that he never expected to get the role. 

“I didn’t think I was gonna get it. And it’s weird, too. It’s a testament to Marvel because… Ant-Man has a different tone and feel, and we didn’t know what that was gonna be,” Boseman said. “We didn’t know what Guardians was gonna be. So, I didn’t know what it was. I only had a few (script) pages at that time. So, it was just good to come in and play to see what they did with it.”

As strange as it may sound, Boseman had strategically auditioned for the role, knowing that he probably wouldn’t get it; he only wanted to get on the casting director’s radar for a future role.

“Sometimes that’s the way it works as an actor,” he said. “You go in knowing you’re not gonna get (the part) but you’re meeting the people that might be like, ‘It’s not this, but we’ll put him in this other thing’.” 

Boseman went through extensive martial arts training for ‘Captain America: Civil War’

Boseman’s strategy paid off, as he was later cast as the Black Panther in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. The 2016 movie was Black Panther’s introduction to the Marvel universe and set the stage for future Black Panther films. 

Because Civil War was deep into production by 2014, Boseman was already training for his Black Panther role long before the spinoff film was ever produced. He went through extensive combat training to prepare for the role, which according to Looper included “training in a varied mix of martial arts, including capoeira, karate, kung fu, and jiu-jitsu.” This gave him a leg up on his costars when they went to boot camp during pre-production for Black Panther

Boseman was a man of many talents, martial arts included. Fans loved him for his on-screen performance of the Black Panther, and he will surely be missed.