As Black Panther becomes one of the most commercially successful superhero films of all time, T’Challa’s story now will continue in the Avengers universe as we forge on to phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. During the set visit of Avengers: Infinity War, Chadwick tells us about where T’Challa fits in with the rest of the Avengers and where his story fits into this film.
This was a paired interview with actors Chadwick Boseman and Mark Ruffalo. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and features Chadwick’s answers.
Stay tuned for our next interview with Mark Ruffalo as he discusses Hulk’s role in the film!
Can you tell us about what your character has been doing since we’ll have last seen them? Which would be, I guess Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther?
My character just cut an album. He’s been on tour. [My character] just finished shooting the Black Panther movie. In that movie, he’s just trying to recover from his father dying; trying to restore order in Wakanda, and the rest of it you have to wait for.
Chadwick, we know that the tone of that movie [Black Panther] but also just the character overall is obviously really at odds with Guardians. For instance, you know those movies couldn’t be more different in that way. What’s it like for your character to — as much as you can say — get involved with Peter Quill and all those people?
That is a good question. Because that is the difficulty in making a movie like this because you have to see the flavor of each one of them. So I think what is good is that in this situation you are seeing [the Avengers] they are in my world. They are in my world so it’s interesting to have them enter our space, which is not something that happens all of the time. So I think it’s important for us to give the flavor of Wakanda, and they are really adjusting to our space. So I think that will be part of the fun of the movie. And the Guardians, entering it, obviously there’s a clash. All of that is conflict, but it’s not conflict between us necessarily. But it’s an emotional, psychological, social conflict. So to speak.
What can you say about the scene that you guys are shooting today, obviously the Avengers are coming to Wakanda, to talk to you and your people but what is the dynamic there?
You know, you have a world problem with Thanos, a problem that affects everyone in the world. So Wakanda is on the world stage, we are obviously advanced in a way where we can help the situation, so that is all that’s happening here.
What does Black Panther think of Thanos?
There’s not a long-running personal conflict for us. There are other characters who have that. We are just dealing with the situation at hand, we know that he is a threat to all of us, but in terms of, do I not like him because of his style or something like that? We don’t have the opportunity to do it.
Chadwick, so in Civil War, you didn’t really seem to have an alliance with either side, you kinda had your own agenda. Has your principles since shifted in this movie?
And also I want to add to that, we talked about this on the Black Panther set, there’s a social media hashtag, “Black Panther So Lit” is that something that is pervasive on this set [Infinity War], or is it just on the Black Panther set?
I don’t know how pervasive it is at all, but it’s definitely not…I don’t think people know for sure that I am in the movie. I think you would be confirming that fact right now. They are suspicious, but they don’t know so it is not so lit.
What are some of the days like where you have just the biggest amount of cast on set? There are so many characters, I don’t know what you guys have shot so far, but I’m sure there is stuff where there are even more characters than [what we see] today.
So what are some of those days?
It’s fun to see, especially because we have not had a lot of opportunities to work together, and when you look at actors that you respect and revere, you see them doing their things. It’s not just about the characters but the cast members, which is what you are seeing. It’s fun to listen to people tell stories. It’s a lot of pressure because if you have, in another situation, I don’t have time to joke when we are shooting Black Panther. It’s serious all the time there. But in this case, you don’t have all the weight on your shoulders, you have more comfortability; we are sharing the weight, which is actually what is happening with the superheroes as well, because they could not deal with Thanos, for instance, alone. So I think there’s a lot of comfort in having people who are so good around you.
As you’re shooting this, neither Thor: Ragnarok nor Black Panther is out yet, and you’ve probably seen more of that than you’ve seen of what Black Panther is. So, without having seen the finished movie, what is it like dealing with the character knowing that the audience will have seen the finished movie when you see this movie?
For me it does not make a difference, because once the movie is out I don’t watch it anymore anyway. My perspective is only from being inside it, mostly. And we just finished, so it’s like I’m just carrying on the story.
Chadwick, you know from movie to movie we’ve seen a lot of characters, they get new suits they get new gadgets. What can you say about Black Panther’s costume in this new movie, or do you have any new vehicles, are there any alterations to your suit that we’re going to see?
Yes, there are alterations to the suit, I lost a little weight so – no I’m joking. There are alterations, but I think it’s more so…I cannot be specific about those things. From Black Panther, you are going into the world of Wakanda, they are more technologically advanced than any other nation on the planet. So you are seeing some gadgets and some technology and the merger of those things with spirituality in a way that you didn’t see in Civil War. But that is because you are coming into their space now, you are getting the opportunity to see. So yes, the answer is yes. I’m not going to tell you what it is.
What are the specific comic books that you read to help you prepare for this movie?
It’s different in this one. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s just because we are in so many different places.
You didn’t read Infinity Gauntlet or any of those?
Yeah, it actually takes away from what’s actually happening in front of you. I think, in this case.
I was going to ask about that, cause like, previously these were the brains, right, Stark and Banner. But now with T’challa and the family and Wakanda people are so far beyond that tech. Are they key, and how does that play out that relationship and how essential are Wakandans to defending earth?
You definitely see where some of the gap is. You see where the gap is and what’s some things we are able to do that they are not able to do.
What is the Dora Milaje’s reaction to all these Avengers and maybe the Guardians if they meet them and it’s all these crazy personalities and heroes and…
About them coming into the country?
Yeah, like just meeting them, what is the reaction there?
You would have to ask one of them. But the initial entry of them into the country is definitely like, “Are you sure about this? Are you sure you want to them in?”
There goes the neighborhood…
There goes the neighborhood. That is a good way of saying it. Yes. But I don’t know exactly how they are feeling. You need to ask Danai, I think.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
Avengers: Infinity War will be released in theaters nationwide April 27, 2018.
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Jamie Broadnax is the creator of the online community for Black women called Black Girl Nerds. Jamie has appeared on MSNBC's The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and The Grio's Top 100. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. She's the primary film critic for BGN and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critic Association