The late Chadwick Boseman fought to have T’Challa speak with an African accent in Marvel’s Black Panther.
The 43-year-old actor died yesterday after being diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago.
And in the wake of the devastating loss, fans and peers have been reflecting on the incredible body of work he leaves behind, most notably the groundbreaking Black Panther.
In the 2018 blockbuster, Boseman played the titular character and king of the African nation of Wakanda, T’Challa, and in preparation for the role, he explored his own heritage, studied African martial arts and examined the speeches of Nelson Mandela and the music of Fela Kuti.
And when it came to filming, the star was insistent that his regal character would not speak with a non-African accent.
Previously speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Chadwick said: ‘[Marvel] felt that it was maybe too much for an audience to take. I felt the exact opposite — like, if I speak with a British accent, what’s gonna happen when I go home?
‘It felt to me like a deal-breaker. I was like, “No, this is such an important factor that if we lose this right now, what else are we gonna throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?”’
Boseman explained that Wakanda is supposed to be the most technologically advanced country in the world, and if its ruler spoke with a European or American accent, it would have meant that Wakanda had been colonised.
He told CNET: ‘If I did that, I would be conveying a white supremacist idea of what being educated is and what being royal or presidential is. Because it’s not just about him running around fighting. He’s the ruler of a nation.
‘And if he’s the ruler of a nation, he has to speak to his people. He has to galvanize his people. And there’s no way I could speak to my people, who have never been conquered by Europeans, with a European voice.’
Chadwick put his foot down and it led to all the characters from Wakanda speaking with African accents in the MCU franchise.
And Marvel’s fears that the accent would be ‘too much’ for the audience were unfounded, as Black Panther went on to be one of the most critically acclaimed MCU films.
The film went on to gross over $1.3 billion (£970m) worldwide and became the first MCU film to win an Academy Award, as well as being nominated for best picture.
Boseman’s Marvel colleagues lead the tributes today, after the actor’s family confirmed that he had died surrounded by his wife and loved ones after secretly battling stage four colon cancer.
Chris Evans, who played Captain America opposite Boseman in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, wrote on Instagram: ‘I’m absolutely devastated. This is beyond heartbreaking. Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. Few performers have such power and versatility. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in power, King.’
And Chadwick’s on-screen mother Angela Bassett reminisced about her relationship with the star, writing: ‘It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever!
‘We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honoured that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.’
Credit: Original article published here.