Chadwick Boseman’s legacy and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

by Jasmine Salgado (’26) | November 18, 2022

Art by Kiana Allard (’24)

Due to his superb acting skills as well as his gentle and charismatic personality, it was only a matter of time before Chadwick Boseman became a global phenomenon. Throughout his career, Boseman aimed to accurately represent Black America’s history through his roles. His performances in Marshall as Justice Thurgood Marshall, Get On Up as James Brown, and 42 as Jackie Robinson were all clear examples of his thoughtful poise and shining talent. Although his previous parts were met with critical acclaim and commercial success, his leading role in Black Panther is what truly gave him the spotlight and international fame.

However, his skill as an actor is arguably secondary to his patience and dedication as a person. Despite fighting stage III colon cancer since 2016, he continued acting in films, recording the entirety of the Netflix film Da 5 Bloods in the midst of his private battle. His passion for all patients like himself fighting against cancer was also evident. In a 2018 interview with SiriusXM, he gave a moving speech about a conversation he had shared with two boys with terminal cancer. He became teary-eyed, pausing midway in his talk due to how emotional he became. He emphasized that it was because of children like them that he knew he had to work harder for those who found themselves in his movies.

His passing on August 28, 2020 was a tragedy that impacted not only loved ones but also fans. However, his memory lives on in his brilliant work, most notably his contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). His passing naturally disrupted the progression of the Black Panther movies, but his legacy continued through the making of the second installment; director Ryan Coogler made a point of leaving number one on the call sheet to honor Boseman’s memory.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is arguably one of the best films in the MCU and nothing short of excellent. The film takes place a year after King T’Challa’s death from a fatal illness, a reference to Boseman’s passing. The plot centers around Wakanda’s ongoing battle with the rest of the world over their isolated use of vibranium and resistance to sharing the material. Princess Shuri, Queen Ramonda, Okoye, and Nakia are the most significant recurring characters as they fight the Talokanian underwater civilization. 

The pace of the film perfectly matched its mood at different points of the plot; the alternation of conversation scenes and thrilling, action-packed sequences was coordinated brilliantly. The soundtrack, which includes Rihanna’s newest single “Lift Me Up,” was curated in a way that allows viewers to connect to each and every scene. While the special effects were of the extraordinary quality expected from a Marvel movie, the acting skills of the entire cast were what truly made it a stand-out film. Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda and Danai Gurira as Okoye especially shined, and a scene that they shared midway through the film leaves the audience simultaneously on the edge of their seats and filled with sorrow. While Boseman’s quietly commanding presence in Black Panther left big shoes to fill, its sequel did justice to his legacy. Despite the tragedy of his passing, the filmmakers and cast were able to come together to create a fantastic movie. Chadwick Boseman’s lasting impact will not only be felt when audiences watch his work, but will also continue to flourish in the lives of the people that he touched and the message of dedication and love that he advocated.

Categories: Entertainment

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