Chadwick Boseman only broke through in 2014, after playing Jackie Robinson in the biopic 42. In the short period that he was a major star, he racked up a peerless résumé, playing other great African-American historical figures, like James Brown in Get On Up and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. He also played a key role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as T’Challa, aka Black Panther — the franchise’s first black superhero to get a solo movie.
The MCU employs a ton of great actors, so it was inevitable that when news broke Friday night of Boseman’s death to colon cancer — a struggle he kept quiet, telling only close family and friends — many of his colleagues would sound off on social media, paying tribute to an actor who everyone assumed had decades’ more great work in him.
There was Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson.
THANK YOU @chadwickboseman for all you gave us. We needed it & will always cherish it! A talented & giving artist & brother who will be sorely missed🙏🏿 RIP
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) August 29, 2020
And the one who started it all, Robert Downey Jr.
There was Chris Evans.
I’m absolutely devastated. This is beyond heartbreaking.
Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. Rest in power, King💙 pic.twitter.com/oBERXlw66Z
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) August 29, 2020
And Mark Ruffalo.
All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of #ChadwickBoseman. What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord love ya. Rest in power, King.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 29, 2020
And Chris Hemsworth
Don Cheadle, the MCU’s first black superhero, whose “Rhodey” Rhodes suited up as War Machine back in 2010’s Iron Man 2, was there to honor him.
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) August 29, 2020
So was Brie Larson.
And Chris Pratt.
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) August 29, 2020
And Zoe Saldana.
I’m gonna have to tell Cy, Bowie and Zen that T’Challa has passed. What other king can I tell them about now? pic.twitter.com/AFEFxJOFd5
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) August 29, 2020
Tom Holland, the youngest MCU superhero, was there to honor him.
Ditto Clark Gregg, who’s played S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson since the start.
— Clark Gregg (@clarkgregg) August 29, 2020
Taika Waititi, who now directs the Thor pictures and voices Korg, weighed in.
Devastating news. We lost a great one. Takoto mai rā e Āriki. #chadwickboseman
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) August 29, 2020
As did Marvel Studios itself.
Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/DyibBLoBxz
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) August 29, 2020
One of the most moving tributes came from Angela Bassett, who played T’Challa’s mom in Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame, and who shared the story of how they first met, long before they played mother and son.
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“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever