Chadwick Boseman Gives Final Four Performances in Marvel’s What If
Chadwick Boseman will portray T’Challa a total of four times in Marvel Studios Disney+ series, What If.
The Marvel Studios TV series What If… (based on the long-running Marvel Comics series, and now streaming on Disney+) premiered the 2nd episode of its first season this last week: What If … T’Challa became a Star-Lord? The episode’s premise is instead of Peter Quill being kidnapped by the Ravagers, what if T’Challa is taken instead? In the episode, Chadwick Boseman reprises his Black Panter role of T’Challa, a year after dying of cancer. Marvel has announced Boseman will actually appear in four episodes of the series, playing three different versions of T’Challa.
Marvel Studios executive producer Brad Winderbaum stated it was his first opportunity to work one-on-one with The Black Panther star. Winderbaum recently told SFX Magazine:
“We obviously had no clue about [Chadwick’s illness] at the time. We reached out to him about T’Challa Star-Lord and he was really excited about the concept, and really liked the pages. He came in, recorded, and had such a good time that we kept writing him [episodes], so he’s in four episodes as three different versions of T’Challa. It’s so humbling to think that he devoted any time to this show in his last year with us.”
Winderbaum continued: “It was so devastating when we heard the news. We had forged a bit of a relationship with him because he was in so much of it, and we’re so grateful. He was such a contributor, creatively. I’m sure everyone that’s ever worked with him said the same: he left it all on the field for us.”
Boseman’s last live action performance was as the character of Levee in the screen adaptation of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, released four months after the actor’s death. Boseman would go on to win the Oscar for the performance.
The next Black Panther movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is not recasting Boseman’s role, but Marvel Studios has been reticent about releasing just how the franchise will continue. Many fans are advocating T’Challa’s sister Shuri, played by Leitita Wright, take over as the character, as was done is the comics. While the casting of the Black Panther role is unknown, it was announced the Dominque Thorne will be portraying Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart in the sequel, the first big screen appearance of the character. This will be ahead of the announced, but not yet scheduled Disney+ series.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is expected in 2022, What If… continues its nine-episode run on Disney+ until October.