Black Panther and the Superpower of Chadwick Boseman

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Black Panther and the Superpower of Chadwick Boseman

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Chadwick Boseman, the star of one of Marvel studio’s most successful films, Black Panther, died following a prolonged — and largely secret — battle with colon cancer, his family said on Friday night. He was 43 years old.

In a tear-jerking statement, the family revealed that Boseman had continued to act in major Hollywood films, during and in between a number of surgeries and chemotherapy sessions, for the last four years.

“A true fighter. Chadwick persevered through it and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the family said, breaking the hearts of fans across the world.

Boseman was known for his appearance in a number of films, including Da 5 Bloods, 21 Bridges, Get on Up, in which he plays iconic African-American singer James Brown, and of course the Avengers films, in which he played King T’Challa, or the Black Panther.

The actor’s co-stars from the Marvel franchise paid tribute to his 17-year career on Twitter, including Mark Ruffalo, who called him one of the all-time greats, and actor Brie Larson, who said he radiated power and peace.

The actor’s legacy will live on forever, Marvel studios said in its condolence message.

A year ago, Boseman had said that his role in Black Panther changed what it meant to be young, gifted, and Black. And indeed, the actor meant the world to his young fans, as evidenced by this old segment from Jimmy Fallon’s show that has been doing the rounds.

For Black kids around the world, seeing a superhero on screen that looks a lot like them was truly moving.

With the news of his death, many fans and co-stars also discovered for the first time that the star had been battling colon cancer, information which Boseman had chosen to keep under wraps.

This revelation has now put a number of his previous interviews into perspective. In one, for instance, the actor is seen getting emotional when talking about two children with terminal illness. The kids, he says, motivated him to get up and finish filming.

In conversation with the Huffington Post, Chadwick responded to an interviewer’s comment about his sudden weight loss, with: “One day I’ll live to tell the story”.

Chadwick Boseman died surrounded by his wife and family on Friday night. While it’s heartbreaking to think that fans won’t get a chance to see him in the Black Panther sequel planned for 2022, they can always seek solace in the iconic King T’Challa quote: “In my culture, death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping point.”

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