Chadwick Boseman has spent the past couple days at the Toronto International Film Festival supporting his new film, Message from the King. Entertainment Weekly used some of its time with Boseman to ask about his starring role in Black Panther, a character he first played in Captain America: Civil War earlier this year. Boseman sees his character as an anti-hero.
“This is an anti-hero, sort of. I feel like although he is a superhero, he is a super anti-hero.”
I wish there had been a follow-up question so that Boseman could expand on that idea. Traditionally, Black Panther is not an anti-hero in the way that the term broadly encompasses the likes of Deadpool or Tony Soprano. Looking at Captain America: Civil War, however, I can see what Boseman might be getting at.
Consider the position of T’Challa (Black Panther) in the film. He agrees with the Sokovia Accords, but not the politics behind them. His only reason for being in the heat of the conflict is to avenge his father. He’s never philosophically aligned with any of The Avengers as he moves along his own personal arc.
The role of the Black Panther in T’Challa’s home of Wakanda is not purely that of a superhero. The Black Panther is a warrior and a protector, but he’s not necessarily involved in all the usual activities associated with being a superhero. Still, it’s an interesting thought that I hope Boseman expands on in future interviews.
The conversation then turned from anti-heroes to accents and it turns out that Message from the King played an important role in Boseman finding the voice of T’Challa. In the new film, Boseman plays a South African man searching for the people responsible for his sister’s death. Boseman described how one role informed the next.
“I ended up using the same dialect coach I had from Message from the King also, who worked with me personally along with Marvel’s dialect coach on Black Panther. Those are two characters based in continental Africa, so some of that cultural aspect of it, the swagger, parts of the dialect you may use – that cultural exploration is definitely something that transferred over [from one role to the next].”
I believe Boseman first described this connection between Message from the King and Black Panther when he was promoting Captain America: Civil War on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this year, but it’s still cool to get a few new details about it. I loved Boseman’s accent for T’Challa and I think he and his dialect coaches made the right choice.
Marvel’s Black Panther is due in theaters February 16, 2018.