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Robert Downey Jr. Remembers Chadwick Boseman, Says Black Panther is MCU’s Crowning Je

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Robert Downey Jr. says that Marvel Studios' crowning achievement is Black Panther as he remembers Chadwick Boseman. Everyone was shocked late last Friday, August 28, when news broke out that Boseman died at just 43 years old. It turns out that the actor was battling colon cancer for four years now, something that he never mentioned publicly, and was also shocked to the people he worked with, including those from Marvel Studios.

Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer back in 2016, with the illness rapidly advancing earlier this year. That didn't stop him from being active with his work, however. Over that period of time, he starred in multiple movies including a couple under the MCU where he played T'Challa — king of Wakanda. After debuting in Captain America: Civil War, he went on to star in Ryan Coogler's groundbreaking film, Black Panther, followed by Avengers: Infinity War and finally, last year's Avengers: Endgame. Despite his relatively brief time in the Marvel franchise, he had a massive impact not just in the MCU, but in Hollywood as a whole, particularly in terms of representation of the Black community and other minorities in media.

On the heels of this tragic news, a barrage of messages from have flooded social media over the weekend mourning, but also celebrating Boseman's life. During an interview with Good Morning America, MCU's inaugural actor, Downey, who played Ir0n Man/Tony Stark, fondly remembered his time knowing the Black Panther star, and shared what their last conversation was just after the horrific murder of George Floyd and at the beginning of the BLM protests around the country. The actor also said that out of the 23 films in the universe thus far, it's clear that Black Panther is Marvel Studios' most important achievement because it let people vote with their movie tickets.
Downey was actually the one who announced Boseman's casting as Black Panther in the MCU back in 2014 during Marvel Studios' surprise Phase 3 presentation. After Kevin Feige laid out all their films from Civil War to Endgame, Downey and Chris Evans, who played Captain America/Steve Rogers made a surprise appearance and during the event as a way to start properly promoting the 2016 Joe and Anthony Russo film which would also serve as Boseman's first appearance in the franchise. Interestingly, Stark and T'Challa didn't actually have any scenes together which was disappointing, but since they both appeared in three of Boseman's four films in the franchise, they've spent a considerable amount of time together on set.

It's difficult to argue about Downey's comments regarding Black Panther's place in the MCU. While it wasn't the highest-grossing film in the franchise, the cultural impact it had all around the world is immeasurable. It pushed forward for the much-needed diversification in the MCU and Hollywood as a whole. Its success proved that there's a real need for BIPOC stories, and debunked the long-standing myth that they can't sell tickets. Black Panther's critical and commercial achievements opened a whole new world of opportunities for BIPOC talents and storytellers. The film also meant so much to a lot of people; it inspired a generation of kids, especially Black ones, to be the agent of their own stories, and gave the sense of finally being seen on media for older members of the same community.


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