What If…? Writer and Director Reflect on Working With Chadwick Boseman

Throughout his battle with cancer, Chadwick Boseman didn’t let the disease affect any of his onscreen performances, especially his turns as T’Challa/Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His voiceover work in Marvel’s What If…? animated series was no exception. Later this week, Disney+ will debut the first of four episodes to feature an alternate version of Boseman’s game-changing superhero. The show notably marks his final MCU appearance following his death last summer. But according to head writer A.C. Bradley, Boseman poured everything he had into those recording sessions.

Bradley discussed Boseman’s What If…? performance in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly. According to Bradley, Boseman didn’t just come in to record his character’s dialogue. He also took an active role in the creative process.

“He cared about T’Challa so much,” said Bradley. “All the actors care about these characters but Chadwick Boseman understood the power of Black Panther and his role as an icon. He read the scripts beforehand, he would pass on some notes or thoughts. They were always smart, articulate, brilliant.”

In this week’s episode of What If…? viewers will watch as Yondu’s Ravagers abduct a young T’Challa from Wakanda and raise him to become Star-Lord instead of Peter Quill. However, fans shouldn’t expect Boseman’s character to mimic Quill’s reckless, womanizing ways.

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“He wanted to make sure he had the accent right, that it matched the movies, because he knew that because we’re animation, there’s going to be kids watching this,” added Bradley. “It was super important to him to make sure T’Challa is always presented as a role model and a hero. And luckily we were all on the same page.”

Series director Bryan Andrews also recalled Boseman as being a consummate professional during production, despite his ongoing health issues. And he apparently had such a positive experience that he wanted to come back for more.

“We were already thinking of finding a way to do spin-offs and stuff like that of him and his crew to have these wonderful adventures,” said Andrews. “Because [while] the character was so different, you can keep some of the virtue and some of the integrity and all the other important aspects of T’Challa as we know him, Black Panther, without necessarily the pressure of the kingdom Wakanda.”

The second episode of What If…? premieres this Wednesday, August 18 on Disney+.

Would you like to see more animated adventures starring T’Challa/Star-Lord with a different actor providing his voice? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: What If? Classic: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

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