This year’s Disney Legends panel felt different than it did three years ago, when “Iron Man” himself, Tony Stark, admitted to smoking pot at Disneyland. With three years removed from the event due to Covid, and the awareness that several prominent actors were being given Disney Legend status, the air felt charged for anything.
And after several happy speeches from the likes of “Frozen” actresses Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, and inspirational moments like “Black-ish” actress Tracee Ellis Ross discussing the significance of her ABC series, the final Legend was met with utter appreciation and reverence. The late Chadwick Boseman was honored with the award, and his brother Derrick sought to remind the audience that the honor of Disney Legend status went deeper than anyone could have expected. The “Black Panther” star was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in 2016 and died in 2020 at the age of 43.
After announcing that Boseman’s entire family was in the audience, including the actor’s wife, Derrick Boseman went on to discuss how his brother lived up to the term honor. “He honored his contracts, not the last one,” Derrick said. “He honored them with his blood, his sweat and his tears while taking chemo at the same time.” Boseman’s brother also explained that just six days before his death, Chadwick married his longtime girlfriend, Simone, as another way to honor his commitments.
Boseman broke out as a leading screen actor playing baseball icon Jackie Robinson in “42,” which led to roles in the indie film “The Kill Hole” and Kevin Costner-led “Draft Day,” before he earned major critics’ kudos and awards attention for playing the godfather of soul in the James Brown biopic “Get on Up.” He soon scored a five-picture deal with Marvel, beginning with “Captain America: Civil War,” followed by the global phenomenon “Black Panther.” The film earned over $1.3 billion worldwide and broke numerous records along the way.
At last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, Boseman won a posthumous Emmy in the Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance category. Boseman voiced Black Panther one last time for Disney+ animated series “What If…?” during the episode “What If… T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?”
The sequel to “Black Panther,” “Wakanda Forever” debuts in theaters November 11.