Meet Marvel’s Black Panther: Chadwick Boseman

Actor who gained critical acclaim in '42' and 'Get On Up' lands coveted role

After breaking out as Jackie Robinson and James Brown in “42” and “Get On Up,” Chadwick Boseman has a new high-profile role to play: T’Challa, otherwise known as the superhero Black Panther.

Created by Stan Lee with Jack Kirby, the character is notable for being the first black superhero in mainstream American comicbooks.

The king of the fictional nation of Wakanda, T’Challa joined the Avengers in 1968. He will be prominently featured in costume for the first time in “Captain America: Civil War,” released May 6, 2016, before being spun off into his own film on Nov. 3, 2017.

“He will have a big role,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige on Tuesday at a Marvel fan event at Disney’s El Capitan Theater.

Feige said he was happy Boseman’s casting didn’t leak the way the trailer for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” wound up online, a week before its planned debut after ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.”

The Civil War plot is a key one for Marvel’s cinematic universe, considering the bigscreen moral and physical battle will play out in multiple movies. In the comicbooks, Spider-Man is at the center of the storyline, which involves the world’s superheroes having to register with a government organization backed by billionaire Tony Stark.

But since Marvel is currently unable to integrate Spider-Man in its films — Sony has the sole rights — Black Panther appears to be taking the web slinger’s role.

“It’s a big storyline,” Feige said, adding that “this is the Civil War of the cinematic universe, inspired by comicbook universe, but the Civil War that’s based on all of the other films, particularly (‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’) and (‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’).”

Wakanda has the world’s largest deposits of vibranium, a highly durable meteoric ore that is used to create Captain America’s shield and the mesh in Black Panther’s costume. The material will play a larger role in future Marvel movies.

But so will Black Panther, a character who has long been in Marvel’s plans for a potential franchise.

While “42” and “Get On Up” generated praise from critics, especially for Boseman’s portrayal of the icons in the films, it will be his role as Black Panther that could give him the star making turn that will make him recognizable to audiences worldwide.

Marvel movies, afterall, rejuvinated Robert Downey Jr.’s career and turned Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt and Tom Hiddleston into major stars, while also boosting the profiles of Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Dave Bautista.

After “Black Panther,” the character is also expected to join the rest of the Avengers in sequels to that franchise, which are being broken up into two films in 2018 and 2019. Boseman has inked a five-picture deal with Marvel, according to sources.

Boseman, 37, hails from Anderson, South Carolina. He had roles in the TV series “Lincoln Heights” and “Persons Unknown” before making the switch to films. His credits include the thriller “The Kill Hole” and Kevin Costner sports drama “Draft Day.”

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