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Marvel Director Reveals the Special Way Chadwick Boseman Prepared For Final MCU Role In What If

Chadwick Boseman Black Panther What If MCU
By Russ Milheim

Loki's finale made some of the biggest moves in the MCU since Avengers: Endgame in 2019. It blew the gates wide open to the multiverse and introduced the next big bad to follow big Thanos' footsteps. It was proof that Marvel's Disney+ ventures will mean something to the wider narrative.

The next show on the slate is Marvel Studios' first venture into animation: What If...?The stories which will unfold are meant to take full advantage of everything that the multiverse has to offer. The streaming installment aims to explore the possibilities that spring from events within the MCU having gone completely different. 

Situations included in this show will feature events such as Ultron winning and gathering the Infinity StonesKillmonger saving Tony Stark's life, and even Peggy Carter getting the super-soldier serum. One of the more drastic episodes focuses on if T'Challa had become Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill.

That episode, which is set to be the season's second installment, happens to also be the late Chadwick Boseman's final performance in the MCU. The experience was a special one, especially in hindsight. 

At the official press junket for the series, the director of What If...? was able to share a story about working with him.


Chadwick Boseman T'Challa

In the virtual press junket for Marvel Studios' What If...?, director Bryan Andrews was asked about his experience working on Chadwick Boseman's episodes in the animated series.

Andrews was happy to recall the experience, saying that "it was amazing being able to work with him," but that team "only got a small moment [with him]:"

"It was amazing being able to work with him... we only got a small moment because our episodes are so short, you know, compared to everyone who was able to enjoy his presence, like on Black Panther, or even on [Captain America:] Civil War. We had him for a little moment to do our thing and we were so grateful... I think he may have even one of the first actors that maybe signed on, and said I'm going to do that voice. And we were so excited, because we really, really really wanted to work with Chadwick, and we just love Black Panther, and we love him."

However, Chadwick Boseman did something unique during his time in the booth. Likely due to being "theatrically trained," Boseman wanted to "read it like a scene [in a play]:"

"And, about the record specifically, something that was kind of fun— he's theatrically trained, and sometimes we get the actors in the booth who like to work differently, based on the needs or wants of the particular actor playing. Sometimes they just want to hit the line, hit the line, hit the line; be done, move on to the next one—it's cool. Some read it like a scene, and he really wanted to do it like a play. Reading the scene descriptions in between... really build it out like a play, cause that's how he's trained, that's what he's comfortable with, and that's what he wanted to do... So we got to basically read lines with Chadwick Boseman. You know our non-actor-trained way, do the best we can, but we [were] doing a performance with Chadwick. It's amazing, and it was awesome."

T'Challa becoming Star-Lord was a role that Chadwick Boseman "was excited to play...because it was a version of him being able to play the King, but the King without the mantle:"

"... it was really great to hear him talk about [how] he was excited to play this particular version of T'Challa because it was different. Because it was a version of him being able to play the King, but the King without the mantle... without the mantle of royalty and all the other things that go with it. Completely different spin, he can lighten it up, he can get a little more jokey with it.... he was excited to bring that flavor to T'Challa, and give it to the audience..."


There's no doubt that many will get emotional listening to Chadwick Boseman's final performance in the MCU. Fans are hoping the T'Challa Star-Lord will live up to the hype, and there is a chance the character will pop up at least once more before the show's first season ends.

With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever having just started production, the actor and everything he accomplished is still fresh in everyone's mind. In fact, a recently leaked set video contains what may be a reference to the character's passing in the MCU. Considering how emotional of a ride What If...? is going to be, it's hard to imagine what watching the MCU's next venture into Wakanda will feel like.

The process of making the film certainly hasn't been an easy one for director Ryan Coogler—a sentiment that could likely easily be shared by the rest of Boseman's former costars. At the very least, fans should expect to see a movie like none other in the MCU, one which even looks to be bringing Namor and his nation of Atlantis into the fold.

Marvel's What If...? premieres exclusively on Disney+ on August 11, 2021, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will have its theatrical release on July 8, 2022.