Chadwick Boseman: recapping 4 of the black icons he brought to life

The tragic death of Chadwick Boseman at the mere age of 43 has given Hollywood, and indeed millions of fans around the world, pause for thought. Having already established a terrific career, and with the promise of more greatness in the pipeline, it feels cruel to have someone so talented ripped away from us at a relatively young age.

Boseman passed away from colon cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 2016, surrounded by his family. As the movie industry mourns, he leaves behind a tremendous body of work that straddles iconic portrayals in both the fictional and factual realms. We're recapping some of the most notable – scroll down to discover more.


1. Jackie Robinson – 42 (2013)

One of baseball's most celebrated figureheads is brought to life by Boseman in this rousing drama. Robinson's storied life would make a challenge for any actor, but Boseman's empathy and tendency for understatement helps ground this occasionally cliched movie in something that we can feel. Robinson was the first African-American player to figure in Major League Baseball, and it would prove to be the first of several extraordinary real-life portrayals from Boseman.

2. James Brown – Get On Up (2014)

It takes an actor of rare skill to depict a musical icon in multiple stages of their life. The first time we see Boseman as troubled soul legend James Brown, we're compelled to do a double-take. The eerily accurate make-up and hair are perfectly matched to a superb performance that nails the vocal mannerisms and body language of the great man. Boseman, however, doesn't rely on prosthetics alone to sell his conviction, as the flashbacks to Brown's turbo-charged youth demonstrate. It's convincing without falling into caricature, a tricky balance to walk, but one that the actor pulls off tremendously well.

3. Marshall Thurgood – Marshall (2017)

Chalk up another dynamic portrayal of a real-life figure, one that invests a potentially stodgy drama with vibrant currents of humanity. Thurgood Marshall was historic as the first African American Supreme Court Justice, and Boseman again demonstrates great skill in reclaiming a sense of the man behind the history, idealism, flaws and all. The movie dramatises State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell, but it's Boseman who makes it sing.

4. T'Challa/Black Panther – Black Panther (2018)

From real-life heroes to icons ripped from the pages of Marvel comics – Boseman did a lot in a short time for furthering portrayals of African-Americans on the big screen. In 2018's Black Panther, he picks up the thread of the T'Challa storyline from 2016's Captain America: Civil War. Only this time, he's the star of his own movie, and he acts as our entryway into the world of Wakanda, alternately traditional and progressive, but always extraordinary. Black Panther broke down boundaries with his 1966 comic book debut, courtesy of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and the movie was subsequently freighted with huge expectation. Thanks to Boseman, director Ryan Coogler and the rest of the cast and crew, it emerged as a popcorn-friendly blockbuster with social significance and the ability to communicate to oppressed peoples across the world.


To celebrate Chadwick's legacy, we're bringing Black Panther back to Cineworld screens from the 4th September. But before you book your tickets, check out the following video for an insight into this actor's utterly gracious and humble personality.