What If...?: Chadwick Boseman was ‘light and jokey’ while recording final Black Panther performance

Actor died of cancer in 2020, shortly after production began on new Marvel animated series

Peony Hirwani
Monday 02 August 2021 11:31
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What If...? official trailer

The director of the Marvel series What If...? has revealed that Chadwick Boseman was “excited” about playing a new version of his Black Panther character.

What If...? reimagines popular events and characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and places them in imagined “what if” scenarios.

Therefore, in the animated series, the late actor’s character is portrayed as someone “who changes the world around him”.

“He doesn’t go through a transformation, he transforms the world,” said director Bryan Andrews during a virtual press conference on Sunday (1 August).

In Boseman’s episode of What If...? the series focuses on what would have happened if Yondu of the Guardians of the Galaxy captured King T’Challa (Boseman) rather than Peter Quill (played in the films by Chris Pratt).

T’Challa then proceeds to turn into Quill’s superhero alter-ego Star-Lord rather than the Black Panther.

“He (Boseman) was excited to play this particular version of T’Challa because it was different. Because it was a version of him playing the King, but the King without the mantel, the royalty and everything else that goes along with it,” Andrews said. “He could lighten it up and get more jokey with it. He was excited to bring back that flavour to T’Challa.”

The director also shared that it was “amazing” being able to work with the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom actor.

“We only got a small moment because our episodes are so short,” he shared. “I think he was one of the first actors to sign on.”

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“None of us knew what he was going through at the time,” he said of Boseman’s health.

In August 2020, Boseman died aged 43. He had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 but chose not to make the news public.

His family and friends revealed in the wake of his death that many of the films he made between 2016 and 2020, including Black Panther,were shot while he was undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy.

What If...? starts streaming on Disney Plus on 11 August.

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