What If Team On Chadwick Boseman And Being Part Of His Lasting Legacy
After the season finale of WandaVision and Loki, MCU fans know that the multiverse is very much alive and it’s only going to become crazier. While we probably aren’t going to get a bunch of new movies for all of these different timelines, Marvel has given fans a taste of what could potentially be with their new Disney+ animated series, What If…?. The show explores how things might have unfolded had certain key moments not occurred. It’s narrated by the alien, Uatu the Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright in the series), who is tasked with observing the Earth and its alternate realities. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the discussion by the What If team on Chadwick Boseman and working with him on his last MCU project is a must-read. Get your tissues ready.
Boseman Knew How Important T’Challa Was, Even In Animated Form
Image via Marvel Studios
What If…? writer A.C. Bradley and director Bryan Andrews reflected on how Boseman knew how important Black Panther was, not only to the MCU but to society as a whole. Bradley told The Hollywood Reporter:
“Chadwick Boseman understood the importance of Black Panther. He understood how important it is that young people see a Black man standing shoulder to shoulder with Captain America and Thor Odinson, so that they know a Black man saves the world just the same as anyone else.”
Representation matters (e.g. Simu Liu being cast in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings or the fact that Loki is gender-fluid), and Black Panther proved that. The film grossed over $1 billion worldwide and showed that movies that didn’t have a mainly white cast could be successful. Superhero movies are improving in terms of diversity, but I think it’s safe to say that Black Panther was the trailblazer in paving the way for other films.
Boseman Brought His A-Game, Despite What He Was Going Through
Both Bradley and Andrews had no idea what Boseman was going through and the What If team on Chadwick Boseman were in awe of what he was able to accomplish for the series. Andrews said:
“It was so exciting to have him part of the process. We wanted to do something with Chadwick and Black Panther, because we love the character. And he signed on pretty early; he was like, ‘Yeah, this sounds cool. I want to do this.’ So he really enjoyed the idea of being able to play this slightly different version of T’Challa. The events are so extremely different, but the galaxy doesn’t change T’Challa; T’Challa changes the galaxy. That was a really great point we were trying to pursue, and I think Chadwick understood that and he wanted to go for that as well. So that was awesome.”
Bradley agreed, saying:
“I have the sad honor of writing some of his last lines in the MCU. I obviously did not know that when I was writing them. What impressed me most about Chadwick Boseman is that all the Marvel actors care about their characters. They’ve been playing these roles for a long time in multiple movies and now TV shows. So they know who these characters are and why they tick. He came in to record, and I joked that he didn’t bring his A-game; he brought every damn sport there is. He made sure that this was going to be the episode that shined, but we did not realize why. And the world is a little sadder for it.”
Boseman didn’t tell anyone about his cancer diagnosis except for a few people (not even Disney or Marvel Studios knew), so those that got to work with him felt lucky to have been a part of his life. As Andrews put it:
“There are a few more times where he pops up briefly in a couple other episodes, so we were able to record with him a little bit during the pandemic. Those records were over Zoom calls, and in the last record, when we were done, I, selfishly, was able to tell him how much I personally thought of him and how great it was to work with him and how much we all appreciate him and his work. He touched his heart and he was very thankful, but we had no idea he was going through what he was going through. So it was nice to be able to express our gratitude, and he at least knew that we were insanely thankful for what he was bringing to the project and how important we thought it was. And I think he felt that, too.”
The What If…? team on Chadwick Boseman is a nice reminder of what a legend he was, but also a reminder of how much Hollywood has lost. His legacy will live on forever in the movies he starred in and the series he was part of, including What If…?. Thank you Chadwick Boseman. Rest in power.
Featured image via Disney+
Keilin Huang is a freelance writer that likes the Oxford comma, reading from her neverending pile of books from the library, and Reeses peanut butter cups. She thanks her Dad for introducing her to his Superman comics and probably majored in Journalism because of Lois Lane.