Close confidants are giving more insight into Chadwick Boseman’s private cancer battle as “Black Panther” producers, still deep in mourning, are reportedly facing tough decisions about the franchise.
Boseman’s longtime agent Michael Greene told The Hollywood Reporter that the beloved actor who died Friday was heavily influenced by the way his mother Carolyn, a professional nurse, raised him.
“(She) always taught him not to have people fuss over him,” Greene told the movie magazine. “He also felt in this business that people trip out about things, and he was a very, very private person.”
Greene said Boseman had moments of quiet struggle while working on the upcoming Netflix film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” but he didn’t want to jeopardize the passion project.
“He was really in hard-core pain,” Greene said. “(But he) felt that being able to be with (co-star) Denzel (Washington) and to launch this cycle of (playwright) August Wilson at Netflix was so exciting to him.”
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Boseman died Aug. 28 at the age of 43 after he was first diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016.
“He was just living his artistic life to the fullest and using his time and his moment to really affect people,” close friend and personal trailer Addison Henderson, who trained Boseman for “Captain America: Civil War” and “Black Panther” told THR.
“I used to tell Chad, ‘Man, you remind me of my dad,’” Henderson reportedly said, referring to his own father who beat cancer four times.
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“‘You guys are fighters, and you never stop moving forward,’” he recalled telling Boseman.
“For us, it was just like, ‘Let’s keep going, let’s keep doing what you want to do, let’s keep training.’ And then, me and Logan and his family, his wife (Taylor Simone Ledward), we were always just here to support him,” he said.
“Some people wait a lifetime to get the opportunity that he had,” Henderson said. “And Chad had so much wisdom, so much knowledge, so much inside of him that he wasn’t going to let this disease stop him from telling these amazing stories and showing his art in the prime of his life.”
Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige and “Black Panther” helmer Ryan Coogler knew nothing about Boseman’s cancer diagnosis before his shocking death, THR reported.
A source close to Boseman told the publication that the actor was convinced until about a week before he died that he was going to beat cancer and gain back the weight he’d recently lost in time to start production for the “Black Panther” sequel in March.
Boseman was planning to begin preparing for the new film this month, the source reportedly said.
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With such a tight schedule, Disney and everyone connected to “Black Panther” are starting to grapple with tough decisions about the future of the billion-dollar franchise while grieving the incredible loss, THR reported.
The loss comes after the deaths of other stars involved in major multi-sequel blockbuster film franchises, but if history is any guide, planning will no doubt go through many iterations.
When Carrie Fisher died in 2016 at age 60, Disney’s Lucasfilm initially said 2019′s “The Rise of Skywalker” would move ahead without Princess Leia as an on-screen character.
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But producers later revised that plan and used a combination of CG effects and surplus footage from 2015′s “The Force Awakens” and 2017′s “The Last Jedi” to write Fisher back into the script.
After “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker tragically died in a real-life car crash in 2013, director James Wan used outtakes of Walker from other movies and asked his two brothers to serve as body doubles on set.
According to THR, one option is for Disney is to make Boseman’s on-screen sister Shuri, played by co-star Letitia Wright, the new Black Panther.
That scenario would avoid the difficult decision of placing another actor in Boseman’s lead role and also aligns with events portrayed in one of the comic book series on which the film is based, THR reported.