Actor Chadwick Boseman is no more after a 4-year-long battle with colon cancer. A talented artist taken too soon. While the actor made his mark in films like Get On Up, 21 Bridges and most recently Da 5 Bloods, he will be most remembered as Black Panther, one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s greatest achievements to date. Armed with soulful eyes and an infectious smile, Chadwick became synonymous with T’Challa, a character that he imbued with a quiet wisdom and a deep sense of empathy. It’s not easy making your presence felt amongst the MCU’s towering figures who have had almost 10 years to establish their legend, but you felt the weight of T’Challa’s presence in every scene he was in. The presence of a King.
As Black Panther, Chadwick graced the MCU in 4 movies, and through them, left us with many moments and scenes that have stayed with us since. Here’s my 5 favourite scenes of Chadwick as T’Challa from the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
1) Captain America: Civil War – T’Challa Confronts Zemo
In one of the final scenes of Civil War, during Iron Man and Cap’s emotionally-charged face-off, T’Challa realises that this was Zemo’s plan all along – to use vengeance to destroy the Avengers from within. “This is all you wanted. To see them rip each other apart,” T’Challa says.
In a film driven by conflict and pain, T’Challa, still reeling from the loss of his father, finally sees the truth and gains the wisdom to rise above his pain. Instead of killing Zemo, who’s responsible for his father’s death, he chooses to save his life. “Vengeance has consumed you. It’s consuming them. I’m done letting it consume me,” he says. It’s the moment a mourning son looks beyond his anger. A hero rises above conflict. A man becomes King.
2) Black Panther – T’Challa Faces His Father
After learning the true heritage of Erik Killmonger and how he was abandoned by his people, T’Challa returns to confront his father, having finally understood the problems with Wakanda and his father’s rule. Earlier in the film, the elder Panther King says, “It’s hard for a good man to be King”. But here T’Challa does just that. He puts doing the right thing above all else, even his own father, the man who never failed him.
Chadwick Boseman memorably reserved T’Challa’s fiercest outcry for the person he loved most, lashing out in a moment of agony as he barks, “You were wrong! All of you were wrong to turn your backs to the rest of the world! We let fear of discovery stop us from doing what is right. No more”. He finally knows what kind of ruler he wants to be. Not just Wakanda Forever, Wakanda For Everyone.
3) Black Panther – Sunrise
Even in defeating his enemy, the one who sought to destroy everything he loved, T’Challa shows remarkable empathy. Beyond a villain he sees a victim in Killmonger, one who’s life and circumstances have forced him to become the monster that he is.
After defeating Killmonger by driving a blade through his armour, it isn’t victory you see in T’Challa’s eyes but remorse. The pain of wishing there was another way. For his final moments, T’Challa fulfils Killmonger’s dying wish – to see a Wakandan sunrise, the beauty of which he’d only heard about in stories. It is a moment that forever changes T’Challa and solidifies his most defining decision as King, to share Wakanda’s immense resources to help better the world.
4) Black Panther – Who Are You?
In one of the final moments of Black Panther, T’Challa visits Oakland, where Killmonger grew up. He tells Shuri he bought all the buildings in the vicinity to open a Wakandan outreach centre.
He then uncloaks his hovering ship to the wonder of a few kids nearby. One of them doesn’t run to the ship, but walks towards T’Challa and asks “Is this yours?…Who are you?” to which T’Challa simply smiles. It’s the smile of a man, a king, an actor who knew change was coming. The smile of a man who knew better days lay ahead for that young boy.
5) Avengers: Endgame – Yimbambe
In one of the film’s most unforgettable moments, all the fallen characters return. The first person to we see emerge from the portals is none other than T’Challa. Of course it had to be him. He was the leader, the embodiment of hope, the future.
His final rousing ‘Yibambe!’ battlecry was a sound which reverberated in movie theatres around the world. A moment that will be forever be embedded in our subconscious. Rest in peace King.