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BLACK PANTHER: Chadwick Boseman Talks The Film’s Tone And Importance

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Captain America: Civil War

This year was a big one for Marel fans. Yes, we had the release of Captain America: Civil War, a film that is perhaps the most ambitious project they’ve had to date, and yes, this year we’ll be getting our first dose of Doctor Strange, a film that is poised to bring another unique flavor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was also a big deal because of one superhero who appeared in the former film: Black Panther.

Okay, I’m hearing some of you roll your eyes (you should probably get that checked out), but let’s be real here: Black Panther was the first non-white leading superhero to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We had Blade in the late 1990s (I hear you yelling at your screens), but as far as the current generation, all non-white superheroes have been supporting characters — awesome ones — but supporting characters nonetheless. It was about time that we had one, and in Civil War, Black Panther was the man (the fact that Luke Cage’s own series is coming out in less than a month is also awesome), and although he was a supporting character in that film, he’ll be getting his own standalone film in less than two years.

Speaking with CBR at Comic-Con International in San Diego, actor Chadwick Boseman talked a bit on how important Civil War was in establishing Black Panther as a character — namely in the character he had when he decided not to kill the film’s villain, Zemo.

“I feel like you get a chance to see that he’s not going to be a selfish ruler. He’s not going to be a dictator. He’s not going to be a person that does things purely for his own gain. That he does have a heroic aspect at the heart of a hero; of a leader. You can pull for him, because he’s merciful. And it leaves room also for him to do things that are not necessarily perfect.”

From there, Bosemen went on to discuss the upcoming Black Panther standalone film, which is due out in 2019. While the Marvel films have been known for how consistent the tone of their films are, there’s no denying that some have skewed more comedy than drama (Ant-Man), and vice-versa (Captain America: Civil War). Boseman opened up about the tone we could likely expect in his own film, which should come as no surprise given how serious his character was in Civil War.

“It’s funny, because on one hand, the Marvel movies that I’ve liked the most are the ones that are funny. I love Ant-Man. But for me, most of the time the darker superhero movies are the ones that I gravitate towards, that I love the most. So I’m glad that I’m not in an Ant-Man. I’m glad that the tone of [Black Panther] may be a little grittier. I just wanted to establish that from the beginning, that that’s what we were doing. That that’s what I intend to do. I feel like we’ll end up in a place that I’ve always wanted to be when I look at superhero movies. Those are the ones I like the most. It’s exciting to do that.”

Much has been said about the diversification of superheroes. In today’s age, it’s becoming increasingly important to many fans that these heroes and movies represent the world we live in, which in general, is more diverse than what we tend to see on the big screen. Boseman thinks that Black Panther could be a big step, not just because the film appeals to black people, but because it’s a film that everyone wants to see. 

“I feel the energy. The image itself opens people’s minds up. You can talk about it all you want, you can have it in a comic book, you can even do an animated series, but when you see real people doing it, it changes something inside of you. It’s going to be a big deal because there’s not just Black people or people of African descent that want to see it, I think everybody wants to see it. That’s the beautiful thing. I truly believe there are more people who want to see it than don’t want to see it, especially after being here.”

What do you think of Boseman’s statement. Oftentimes, filmmakers and studios try so hard to appeal to one specific group, they don’t necessarily realize that certain things can appeal across the board.

Captain America: Civil War is out on digital now and will hit Blu-ray on September 13, 2016. Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.

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