Ahead of Black Panther finally debuting in theaters, the actor behind the titular role has revealed how he became the Marvel Comics character. Speaking at a press conference for the upcoming movie, Chadwick Boseman told the story of how he was cast as the superhero and king of Wakanda.
“We were in Zurich, I was coming off the red carpet for Get On Up and my agent was like, ‘You’ve gotta get on the phone,’" Boseman said. "And the crazy thing is I didn’t even have international calling on my phone until that morning. In an interview I heard someone say ‘Get international on your phone and call your mom,’ [then] important stuff, literally, happened that night.”
As it turned out, that call was coming from a none other than Marvel Studios.
“We were sitting around a table," Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president, said. "We were coming up with the story for [Captain America] Civil War [when] Nate Moore, our executive producer, suggested bringing in Black Panther because we were looking for a third party that wouldn’t necessarily side with Cap or Iron Man. And almost instantly we all said ‘Chadwick.’ And in my memory, though maybe it was the next day, we got him on speaker phone right then.”
“You hear people say this all the time when you’re in a setting like this but he was the only choice,” Feige affirmed. So there you have it, Boseman didn't have to undergo auditions and test screenings like, say, Tom Holland, he was just the perfect man for the job.
Debuting in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Boseman's T'Challa undergoes a heroic transformation to become the Black Panther in the film. T'Challa spends the movie hunting for the man who killed his father, only to end up saving that man's life. In his highly-anticipated solo movie, Black Panther will battle with Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger for the throne of Wakanda.
Directed by Ryan Coogler from a script he wrote with Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Forest Whitaker as Zuri. The film opens Feb. 16.