In his own words: Chadwick Boseman on what Black Panther meant to him

In our 2017 video interview with the actor, he talked about the inspirational impact of Marvel's Black Panther and how Wakanda's fictional view of tech might change our world view.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Chadwick Boseman, photographed for CNET magazine in 2017.


In 2017, Chadwick Boseman lit up the cover of CNET Magazine as he prepared for a record-breaking lead role in Marvel's Black Panther . "This movie is about how you use power. What do you do when you get power?" he said. "The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people."

Here's the full-length interview:

Boseman died Aug. 28 after fighting colon cancer for four years. He played a number of historical figures, including Jackie RobinsonJames Brown and Thurgood Marshall, as well as inspiring a generation as king of Marvel's unconquered African nation Wakanda.

"It's just this tremendous opportunity," the actor said when discussing the instantly iconic character. "There's no way in the world you're going to say no because there's a lot of opportunity for magic to happen."

Having played the leader of Wakanda's technologically advanced utopia, Boseman hoped for new ways to advance society. "If we're going to build a rocket to go to outer space, how do we do that in a way where it doesn't destroy the Earth?" he asked. "How do you live in a society that doesn't need weapons at all? How can we advance in this computer age without having landfills filled with the parts from those things?"

The 43-year-old actor died in his Los Angeles home alongside his wife and other members of his family. Boseman never spoke publicly about his illness, having made films such as Marshall and Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods during and in between medical treatments. Fellow filmmakers and fans posted touching tributes to Boseman over the weekend, while Marvel published a video celebrating his life.

His final film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, is set to premiere on Netflix later this year. It's not clear yet what's going to happen with Black Panther 2, originally set for release in 2022.

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