Of the many characters slated to appear in next year’s Captain America: Civil War (due out on May 6, 2016), few are so welcome as the long-awaited debut of the Black Panther. The character is already slated to star in his own solo film (arriving on November 3, 2017) — the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to headline an African-American — with the possibility of additional appearances in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War — Part 1 and 2019’s Part 2. This week I had the opportunity to speak with the actor at the center of it all — Chadwick Boseman — at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where he received the Virtuoso Award for his portrayal of soul legend James Brown in last year’s Get on Up. Boseman (who’s also a celebrated playwright) was understandably guarded in what he said about T’Challa, prince of Wakanda turned superhero (as though Kevin Feige himself would appear should he let slip any secrets). But he hinted at the complexity of the role, which looks, like all the MCU champions we’ve seen so far, to combine the human and the heroic in the best way possible…
Nerdist: What attracted you to playing T’Challa?
Chadwick Boseman: To be honest with you, what wouldn’t? There are weaknesses that he has, but he’s good at hiding them. Let me put it that way. That’s all I can say. [Laughs.]
N: How cool is it to play someone who has so many different roles — as a prince, a ruler, a warrior, a genius? Does it call on a greater range of skills than you usually have the opportunity to utilize in one performance?
CB: No, this role right here [in Get on Up] did that. [Laughs.]
N: But within the realm of fiction?
CB: I think we will see. You never know honestly until you get to the day of certain scenes what you’re called on to do. You have some idea, but I can’t really answer it until I do it. You have some idea of what it takes to do a role, but a lot of times you call on things in the middle of a moment and you’re like, “Where did that come from?” I think this has all the possibilities of being like that. So hopefully I’ll get a virtuoso [opportunity].
N: Have you already begun the necessary physical preparation, the training required for the role?
CB: Sort of. I can’t answer that until we get there. [Laughs.]
N: Fair enough. Thank you, and congratulations on tonight’s award!
CB: Thank you!
What do you hope to see from a Black Panther film? Let us know in the comments below.