The Marvel superhero passes away after a long battle with colon cancer
I’m finding this extremely hard to write. Never, ever in a million years did I think that I’d have to write this article. It just seems like its a nightmare that I and the rest of the world are having and can’t wake up from. But sadly, it is true and it makes it all the more tragic and devastating. Even though it has been a few short hours since the news broke, I’m finding it hard to even begin to process. To call it a shock is a huge understatement, one that no one would have seen coming and one that is heartbreaking in its sadness.
The actor Chadwick Boseman, the star of many great movies and the actor that brought the human face to the comic book character of T’Challa or ‘Black Panther‘ as we know him better, a talented and brilliant young actor who seemed to be in his prime and had a massive future ahead of him for years to come has passed away at the tender age of 43. Mr. Boseman was diagnosed with that dreaded disease, Colon Cancer four years ago, and sadly succumbed to it late last night/early this morning. He had been living with the condition secretly and away from the spotlight and the press since the diagnosis and bravely fought until the end. What makes the story of his sad demise all the more poignant is the fact that he was undergoing treatment and chemotherapy while still acting and performing as T’Challa in the Marvel Universe. And it shows the bravery of the man that he brought smiles and joy to the faces of many cancer patients who were terminally ill while battling the condition himself. His persistence in bringing joy to these people while secretly in a fight of his own shows the humility and the character that the man had. And makes the news today all that more shocking and saddening.
Chadwick Boseman was born in South Carolina on November 29th, 1976, the son of a Carolyn and LeRoy Boseman. He graduated from T.L Hanna High School in 1995 and during his junior year, wrote his very first play entitled ‘Crossroads’, staging it at the school after a classmate of his was tragically shot and killed. After attending college at Howard University in Washington, D.C, and graduating under the tutelage of Phylicia Rashid who would become his mentor, he and several of his classmates attended the British American Drama Academy in London after Rashid helped raise the funds to send them there after they had been accepted. Originally deciding he wanted to direct and write, he studied acting in an attempt to learn how to relate to actors. Early work came in the form of an episode of ‘Third Watch‘ and the role of Reggie Montgomery in ‘All My Children‘ which saw him unfairly fired after he expressed concerns about racial stereotypes in the script. Roles in ‘Law & Order‘, ‘CSI: NY‘ and ‘ER‘ followed all the while he was constantly writing plays. More television roles came his way before he gained his first starring role in a Hollywood film by playing the legendary baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film ‘Jackie’. More film work was on the horizon for him in movies such as ‘The Kill Hole‘, ‘Draft Day‘, ‘Gods Of Egypt‘, and a fantastic performance as James Brown in the biopic ‘Get On Up‘.
2016 saw him play the role that he will be mostly remembered for the first time. His performance as T’Challa/Black Panther in ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ was something that made the MCU fans and the world sit up and take notice. He gained worldwide recognition for his portrayal and it came as no surprise to learn that Marvel had him signed up to a five-film contract. He took the centre stage as the character in the standalone ‘Black Panther‘ film in 2018 which became a billion-dollar grossing movie and became the first comic book movie to be nominated by the Academy for Best Picture. He reprised the role in both ‘Avengers: Infinity War‘ and ‘Avengers: Endgame‘. I shall briefly pause here and look back at the two ‘Avengers‘ movies. I saw ‘Infinity War‘ on opening day with a packed audience and remember the cheers that went up as he first appeared on screen and the sadness the audience felt as the character was zapped out of existence at the film’s climax. I saw ‘Endgame‘ at a late-night preview screening, again with the auditorium completely sold out, and can still hear the cheers as he re-emerged at the battle scene towards the end of the film. Not only did that signify that the character was back from the dead but it was a brilliant feeling to see him on screen again. Such was the sheer presence of Chadwick Boseman in the role.
Chadwick Boseman sent up his ‘Black Panther‘ role to hilarious effect in a ‘Black Jeopardy‘ sketch he performed on the long-running show ‘Saturday Night Live‘ Also in 2019, Mr. Boseman appeared in the film ’21 Bridges‘, an action thriller in which he was seen as an NYPD detective who decides to shut down the 21 bridges in Manhatten in his hunt for two cop killers. I saw the film again recently and I said at the time that the actor had a huge career ahead of him and he would go on someday to become like Denzel Washington and become a multi Oscar-winning actor in his own right. His performances were getting better as his career went along as can be seen in his small but pivotal role in Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods‘ in what would be his penultimate film appearance. Chadwick Boseman has a final film that is currently in post-production named ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom‘, a drama film that will serve as a posthumous release for the actor. Many of his fellow actors and actresses have responded to his passing in the recent hours after his death was announced and many people from outside the movie industry including Presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Wayne A. I Frederick who is the current president of Howard University, and Major League Baseball and in particular, The Los Angeles Dodgers have issued statements mourning his tragic loss.
All of us at The Future Of The Force would like to offer our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of Chadwick Boseman and send our prayers at this sad time. We cannot feel the same pain as you do but we share in the grief that the entire film world and film and theatre fans across the world are feeling at this moment. The world has lost a unique and remarkable talent, one that can never be replaced or replicated. And for that, we have been truly blessed by the body of work he has left behind.
R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Rest in peace, King T’Challa. Wakanda Forever.
“Death In Wakanda culture is not the end. It is more of a momentum point. You stretch out both hands and Bast and Sekhmet guide you to the green field where you can run forever”
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!