We are a week away from the release of Marvel Studios’ What If…? This animated series will stream exclusively on Disney+. It will take us back to some of the stories from the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a variety of twists. It feels new and nostalgic at the same time. Especially when taking into consideration that a lot of the live-action stars returned to reprise their animated versions.
One of those live-action stars that worked on What If…? was Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa aka Black Panther. Tragically he is no longer with us. While Avengers: Endgame would be the last time we see him in a live-action role, we still have one more chance to hear him as the beloved ruler of Wakanda.
What makes this What… If? episode special is that we get to see his character in a different light. Thanks to the multiverse, we get to see T’Challa as if he was accidentally picked up and raised by Yondu, instead of the classic Star-Lord. This of course allows his character to be a lot looser and easygoing. Which I think fans are going to enjoy very much.
In a press event held this past weekend that LRM Online attended, the director for What… If? Bryan Andrews was asked about how meaningful it was to get to work with Boseman on this project. He was grateful that he at least had a moment to collaborate with him.
“It was amazing being able to work with him. We only got a small moment ‘cause our episodes are so short. Compared to everyone who was able to enjoy his presence, like on Black Panther. Or even on Civil War. We had him for a little moment, to do our thing, and we’re so grateful for it.” Said Andrews.
Apparently, Boseman was just as excited for the project. Noting that he was one of the first actors to sign on to the animated series. “I think he may have been even one of the first actors that signed on and said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m gonna do that voice.’ We were so excited ‘cause we really, really, really wanted to work with Chadwick. We just loved Black Panther and we love him.”
Andrews then went on to talk about Boseman’s approach to recording for What… If? Noting that he was theatrically trained and liked to work differently than other actors. Saying that he wanted to do the lines multiple times as even if they thought they had got it right. This apparently created a more intimate recording session with the crew while recording as they got to “perform” with Boseman.
“About the record, specifically, something that was kind of fun is he’s theatrically trained. Sometimes you get actors in the booth who like to work differently. Based on the needs or the wants of the particular actor at play, sometimes they don’t wanna just hit the line, hit the line, hit the line, be done, move on to the next one. It’s cool.” Andrews continued.
“Some that read it like a scene. 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. It was so much fun being able to do that. It’s like, we got to basically read lines with Chadwick Boseman. Our non actor trained way. We do the best we can, but we, doin’ a performance with Chadwick, amazing. So, it was awesome. None of us knew what he was going through at the time, of course.”
Finally, he describes why this experience was so unique to Boseman. Specifically talking about how excited he was to play a different version of his character. For once he didn’t have to play someone from royalty for once. Happy about the opportunity to add more depth to who T’Challa was as a person.
“He came and he brought it. He had a lot of fun. It was really great to hear him talk about he was excited to play this particular version of T’Challa because it was different. It was a version of him being able to play the king. But the king without the mantle of royalty and all the other things that go with it. Completely different spin, he could lighten it up, he could get a little bit more jokey with it and stuff. He was excited to bring that flavor to T’Challa and give it to the audience. So we can see a slightly different version of T’Challa.” Said Andrews.
It’s heartwarming to hear about this very positive experience Andrews had with Boseman on What If …? As I have mentioned before, I think of this series as a dessert for MCU fans. It will allow us to revisit some of our favorite moments in the MCU and enjoy them with a different perspective and outcome. It will also serve as a beautiful tribute to an actor that leaves behind his work not only in the MCU but all over the scope of films. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a bit emotional at the end of the episode. I hope you all savor this one and enjoy it as the last time we get the opportunity to see/hear Boseman as T’Challa.
Marvel Studios’ What If…? debuts next Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 exclusively on Disney+.