Why Fan Reaction To Black Panther Doesn’t Phase Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa in Black Panther

Thanks to the internet, especially through social media platforms, it's easier than ever for moviegoers to share their opinions on the latest theatrical releases with others. This also means that easy for the stars of these movies to come across these reactions, be it deliberately or just by chance. Take Chadwick Boseman, for example. He debuted as T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and now we're only weeks away from seeing him in the spotlight for the Black Panther movie. While Boseman is unaware of fan reactions "to a certain degree," he also noted that when he does stumble across them, they don't particularly phase him because he realizes that he can't let what the audience thinks dictate how he portrays the character. As he explained:

Yeah, see... I see it. I see certain things, but I see it in a different way because it's important for me to not look at everything that's happening, so I see it because some stuff is impossible to not see. But there's a certain removal I have to have from it in order to play it because you have people saying it's got to have this or it's got to have that and if you were to follow -- if I was to follow their thoughts from the last one it would've been a lot of stuff that was wrong. So I think you kind of have to stay in it in a way where your decisions are made based upon the things that are organic -- there's a lot of storytellers here; all of the different departments are all storytellers and so you're collaborating with them more so than you can the audience. You are collaborating with the audience, but if I was doing a play and I'm onstage with somebody and the audience responds we get that direct, you know, I know that that worked because you responded to it.

It's one thing to collaborate with a movie's creative team about how best to portray a character, but as Chadwick Boseman told CinemaBlend's own Eric Eisenberg and a group of other reporters at a Black Panther set visit last year, he doesn't let the expectations of the Marvel fans influence how he plays Black Panther on the big screen. So coming out of Captain America: Civil War, he made sure not to let "outside" influence play into how he reprised T'Challa in Black Panther, otherwise the changes would have felt inorganic. It's obviously impossible to steer completely away from what the masses think about your performance, but Boseman has been able to turn off that awareness and not let it guide his acting decisions.

Fortunately for Chadwick Boseman, besides collaborating with directors like Ryan Coogler on developing T'Challa, there's no shortage of Black Panther material, both from the comics and other media, to turn to that can help him decide how he should tackle the character next. Boseman continued:

But between blogs and this and that and journalists it's like you can't really put your foot in that. So I would say no it's the fact that now in this case you have a new director that's building on the steps of previous directors and writers and new writers. It's the baby of Stan Lee and Feige. There's so many other factors that come into play, various different writers and various different versions of the character so it's a lot of stuff to put in that you are being influenced by.

Taking place shortly after Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther follows T'Challa returning home to Wakanda and beginning his new duties as the nation's king. However, he and his allies will soon have to face the combined threat of Erik Killmonger and Ulysses Klaue, who want to overthrow the Wakandan kingdom and start a world war.

Black Panther prowls into theaters on February 16, and Chadwick Boseman will jump back into action as T'Challa when Avengers: Infinity War drops on May 4.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.