Chadwick Boseman’s Admirable Explanation of Losing His First Major Role on a Soap Opera and His Legacy of Playing Iconic Black Figures

As the world continues to mourn Chadwick Boseman’s sudden death, fans around the world are eager to delve more into the actor’s short yet prolific career. The Black Panther star’s legacy includes dozens of roles highlighting the contributions of African American icons. Boseman’s selection process for his art is inspiring. So much so that while working on a soap opera, his refusal to play into his character’s stereotypical lifestyle cost him the job. 

Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Chadwick Boseman’s firing from ‘All My Children’ is due to Boseman refusing to play into racial stereotypes

Boseman’s fans are familiar with his work on Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan. As it turns out, Jordan can thank Boseman for one of his earlier roles.

Jordan starred as Reggie Poter on All My Children for three years. Boseman was initially cast in the role. Boseman did not agree with much of Porter’s storyline. The character was a young gang member who was adopted by a fictional white couple on the show. 

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RELATED: ‘Black Panther’ Actors Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan Started Out Playing the Same Soap Opera Character

Boseman made his concerns known with producers and they were not happy. After only a week on the show, Boseman was fired and Jordan was recast. 

“It’s one of those things where you get a role, and you don’t really know,” Boseman told The Wrap in 2019.

When I got it, I was like, ‘This is not part of my manifesto. This is not part of what I want to do. How can I make it work?’ Because with a soap opera, you don’t know the full scope of what’s gonna happen — you don’t know where they’re gonna take the character, because they don’t always know where the character is going. And because of that, there’s possibly room for me to adjust this and change it and make it so it’s stereotypical on the page but not on the screen.

Chadwick Boseman, The Wrap

Chadwick Boseman’s legacy of playing iconic Black heroes

Boseman remained selective with the types of roles he chose throughout his career. Sharing the stories of the Black experience and of Black legends became his mission, and his resume proves that he succeeded with conviction.

He starred in several biopics, including 42 as baseball legend Jackie Robinson, Marshall as Thurgood Marshall – the first Black Justice for the US Supreme Court, Get On Up as soul legend James Brown, and his most notable as the first Black superhero in 2018’s Black Panther as King T’Challa. 

Ironically, Boseman died on Jackie Robinson Day, seven years after his amazing performance in the biopic. 

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RELATED: Chadwick Boseman Experienced Racism Just Like Jackie Robinson in ’42’ and Thurgood Marshall in ‘Marshall’

As for his portrayal of Robinson, Boseman told Movie Clips in 2013, “I knew that it could be a life-changing experience to be a part of this movie and I knew that everybody has a stake in it,” he said.

He continued: “In a movie like this you have to go to history and understand where he [Robinson] was in his life at this point in time. It seemed to be he didn’t want to play baseball anymore. He also had in his psyche and in his vision certain things that he wanted to be able to do as a man. He understood that to do those things, life for black people had to change.”

Boseman’s family said in a statement regarding his passing that playing T’Challa in Black Panther is one of Boseman’s proudest roles.