The world was overcome with shock and heartbreak as the family of Chadwick Boseman announced the end of his long 4-year battle with colon cancer. The actor, known for many poignant roles, was beloved by people around the world after taking up the mantle of King T’Challa, the Black Panther, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Making his first appearance in the third Captain America installment, Captain America: Civil War, Boseman would go on to portray Black Panther in the Oscar-nominated standalone film, Black Panther, as well as they two final Avengers films, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
To this day, Black Panther is the only superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, a testament to the love and dedication Boseman brought to this character both on screen and behind the scenes. Below, we’ve compiled a small list of the most profound moments of Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa throughout his time in the MCU, bringing to life a hero that meant so much to so many.
Sharing Vibranium with the World
T’Challa was truly affected by the tragic story of his cousin, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, especially because of the role his father, King T’Chaka, played in it. King T’Chaka killed Erik’s father, N’Jobu, in an attempt to arrest him for revealing the secret of Wakanda’s true nature to Ulysses Klaue, leaving Erik a kid on the streets of Oakland. Realizing how badly Erik struggled and how it triggered his foray into villainy, T’Challa decides to share Wakanda’s knowledge with the rest of the world, departing from their isolationist traditions. In Black Panther’s post credits, the King delivers a rousing speech to the United Nations about no longer looking the other way when Wakanda is in a position to help the world at large — especially when they’re in a position to be a beacon of hope and prosperity to impoverished and neglected communities — leading as an example of not only technological innovation but prosperity and peace.
As an unnamed man condescendingly asks what a poor third world country mainly specializing in agriculture has to offer, T’Challa simply smirks. Though the scene cuts off there, it’s easy to imagine how profoundly Wakanda’s unveiling of vibranium would impact the world at large. This moment is legendary — not only because Wakanda’s status as a technological powerhouse was revealed (#blackexcellence), but because T’Challa exhibits tremendous compassion in his decision to extend the country’s outreach. –Kenedi
T’Challa and T’Chaka’s Reunion
One of the most profound Black Panther moments happens in Black Panther when T’Challa is reunited with T’Chaka in the Ancestral Plane. He kneels down and tries to apologize to his father, but T’Chaka tells him to stand up, he’s a king. T’Challa tells him he can’t do this without him, but T’Chaka tells him that a father who did not prepare his children for his death has failed and wonders if he ever failed him. All T’Challa wants to know is how to best protect Wakanda. He wants to be a great king like him. T’Chaka tells his son he will struggle so he needs to surround himself with people he trusts. He’s a good man with a good heart, and it’s hard for a good man to be king. It’s one of three scenes in the Ancestral Plane but all so powerful. T’Challa finally reunited with his father and at this point, he felt he not only got closure but reassurance that everything is going to be okay. –Megan
After Killmonger and T’Challa battle for the throne of Wakanda, Killmonger seemingly wins after he fatally wounds T’Challa and throws him over the edge of the waterfall. But the king could not be defeated so easily. One of my favorite moments in the movie is when T’Challa returns, donning the Black Panther suit, to reclaim his rightful spot as King of Wakanda. He tells Killmonger, “I never yielded. And as you can see, I am not dead,” with the fierceness and passion he holds for his country and his people. He reminds us why he’s the true king of Wakanda. –Julia
The Family Bond
Before T’Challa is challenged and crowned King of Wakanda, first he has to bring Nakia home. Upon arrival, we see that even Kings-to-be have sarcastic and smart-aleck siblings in Shuri. The banter between T’Challa and Shuri with their sarcasm toward each other makes him a relatable character. Being able to maintain that sarcasm and sense of humor with his family, T’Challa is able to remind us throughout that he is not only a brother and son, he is able to be a true King in the end. – Kristin
At the end of Captain America: Civil War, when T’Challa had the opportunity to exact his revenge on those complicit in the assassination of his father, T’Challa yields instead. Announcing to Zemo that he is “done letting it consume me,” T’Challa is the only hero of the movie to let go of his anger and thirst for vengeance. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it is painfully evident the toll that his father’s death has taken on him. In the end, T’Challa not only shows Zemo mercy, but additionally extends his forgiveness towards Bucky and pools his resources in order to help him “find peace.” T’Challa continually demonstrates true heroism, not only when it is easy but also in the face of great grief and pain, highlighting his strength of character. –Shaneshi
In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers need to extract the Mind Stone from Vision while saving Vision’s consciousness. The team converges in Wakanda so Shuri can use her technological and medical knowledge to complete the task. But Thanos is also after them, and to buy time, T’Challa and his army (including loyal warriors and friends M’Baku and Okoye) prepare to face Thanos’ forces alongside Captain America and the other Avengers. T’Challa is every inch a king as he rallies his people, shouting the iconic “Wakanda forever!” chant as he leads his country and the Avengers in battle. It’s an iconic moment for the character and a high point in the film. –Jules
Right on Time
When all hope was lost, T’Challa’s entrance with Shuri and Okoye by his side out of the portal single-handedly reignited the flame in Avengers: Endgame. This moment never fails to raise hairs. Throughout Black Panther’s run in the MCU, he consistently comes through, in this case literally, in moments of need. His generosity with his time, his people, and resources — despite the potential for loss — epitomizes his generous and noble character as well as his worthiness as a king. There’s no questioning why he, with his sister and most esteemed general alongside him, are the first to enter through the portal. –Shaneshi
Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther, said in an emotional statement about Boseman’s passing:”Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity, and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering.” The world has lost one of its very brightest lights far too soon, and the ache from his loss will sit with many for a long time to come. And that’s okay. But when that familiar little twinge creeps into our hearts we must remember the battle cry of the King himself, “Yibambe!” Rest in peace and power, Chadwick.
For a deeper look at Chadwick Boseman and his illustrious and unparalleled career, you can find our tribute here.
Bonus: We Don’t Do That Here
While this post has been celebrating some of the more emotionally heavy scenes involving Black Panther, we wanted to leave you with a touch of lightheartedness. The Wakandans can be unintentionally hilarious, as showcased by this scene in particular. In Avengers: Infinity War, Bruce Banner bows when he meets T’Challa at the prompting of Rhodey. T’Challa hastily corrects him with the iconic line, “ We don’t do that here,” leaving Banner thoroughly embarrassed and Rhodey thoroughly amused. Though this scene isn’t emotionally weighty or necessarily impactful in terms of plot, it just gives us another reason to love T’Challa. –Kenedi