On Saturday, the world learned of the sad and untimely death of Chadwick Boseman, the actor best known for playing Black Panther in the Marvel movies, had died.
The 42-year-old star had been privately dealing with colon cancer for four years, during which he made nine films, including all of his performances as King T'Challa, a role that has already become beloved for its strong representation of Black culture in major blockbuster.
To date, Black Panther is the only Marvel movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, with the entire cast, not just Boseman, being praised for their performances.
Ryan Coogler, the director of the movie, penned a moving tribute to Boseman in the Los Angeles Times in which he revealed a unique fact about the film about an iconic scene, which the actor had directly contributed to.
Spoiler warnings ahead.
Towards the end of the movie after the climactic battle between Black Panther and the villainous Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, the pair stand on a mountain watching the sun go down on Wakanda.
As Killmonger lies there, dying, T'Challa tells him that the Wakanda scientists can still heal him and save his life. Killmonger refuses and says:
Why, so you can lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, 'cause they knew death was better than bondage.
This scene has easily become one of the most powerful statements ever said in a Marvel movie and has become even more pertinent as the Black Lives Matter movement has evolved and gained more support and followers.
According to Coogler, Boseman was the man who masterminded this iconic line. Writing in his LA Times tribute, the director said:
While filming the movie, we would meet at the office or at my rental home in Atlanta, to discuss lines and different ways to add depth to each scene.
We talked costumes, military practices. He said to me, ‘Wakandans have to dance during the coronations. If they just stand there with spears, what separates them from Romans?’
In early drafts of the script, Eric Killmonger’s character would ask T’Challa to be buried in Wakanda. Chad challenged that and asked, ‘What if Killmonger asked to be buried somewhere else?
News of this revelation has further highlighted just how special a talent Boseman was, whose influence lay far beyond the performances that he delivered on screen.
Many, many tributes have been paid to Boseman and will continue to be paid following his untimely death.
Those tributes have contributed to a unique record on Twitter, with the tweet that announced his passing becoming the most liked tweet in the history of the website with more than 7.5 million likes.
Rest in Power Chadwick Boseman.