Chadwick Boseman Discusses How BLACK PANTHER Avoids Being A Stereotype

Chadwick Boseman Discusses How BLACK PANTHER Avoids Being A Stereotype

Since his Captain America: Civil War debut, there's been huge buzz for Black Panther! Now, Chadwick Boseman discusses the qualities that help the character avoid falling in to typical Hollywood tropes.

The character of Black Panther was already a popular one amongst Marvel fans, but the King of Wakanda has experienced a huge surge after the release of Captain America: Civil War, where he made his silver screen debut. In addition to having his own solo film releasing in 2018, the character's comic is currently the number one seller at Marvel. Actor Chadwick Boseman is acutely aware of the pressure in bringing such a revered character to life, but at the same time, is aware of the cultural signifiance that entails playing Marvel's first black superhero.

"Obviously, I know how important it is, particularly for people of African descent," said Boseman. "In terms of seeing everybody’s response to it, all types of people have responded to me since Civil War came out. [Black Panther] is there for his own purpose… usually what happens is 'well, he did this in this scene and now he’s doing [something else contradictory] and that doesn’t even fit the character.' That’s the Magical Negro thing,"  Boseman told io9.  By 'Magical Negro', Boseman refers to the film trope of having a black character used as a plot device to help other central characters as opposed to being a fully fleshed-out character of their own. 

"I think we were very cognizant about making a character that had his own through-line, his own intent and he wasn’t going to waver for anybody else’s story,"
Boseman continued. "Anytime that I felt like that was about to happen, I’d be like ‘nah, this is what he wants. You can do whatever you wanna do but this is what I feel like he needs to be doing.’ I feel like that’s the key. Sometimes… I won’t say more than that. I could go into the Magical Negro and talk about that forever. I think the main thing is just keeping it very clear that he has his own arc and his own things that he wants and desires. He only changes that when something strikes a chord at his core," the actor said.

Boseman went on to say that his favourite part of the character is his skill as a leader as opposed to any sort of physical abilities he possesses. "The thing that I like the most is him being challenged, taking criticism and finding a way to keep his focus and intent intact despite those criticisms. That’s what world leaders have to do. If you waver too much, if you give things away… sometimes you do have to give things away. You might give away something that you intended to give away to make it seem like you’re being accommodating. I think it’s that strategy and strength that I like. It’s not necessarily his physical attributes or anything like that. It’s his mind and being able to maneuver as a leader."

Black Panther releases July 6,2018.
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