Chadwick Boseman Reportedly Kept Cancer Battle Secret From Disney and Marvel Studios

On August 28, we tragically and suddenly lost one of cinema’s most talented and charismatic young actors when the news broke that Chadwick Bosemen passed away in his home from colon cancer. Though his time in film was short, his contributions will span the test of time. He was able to play a major African superhero on the big screen, giving black people representation and empowerment in the superhero genre that has been lacking.

Bosemen also starred in The Express, where he played Ernie Davis, the first black football player to win a Heisman trophy. 42 was his breakout film, where he played Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play Major League baseball. However, his latest was Da 5 Bloods, a Spike Lee-directed ensemble film that focuses on a group of Vietnam veterans who return to the front lines to find their commander, as well as buried treasure. As you can probably tell from each of the films I have listed, Chadwick Boseman was dedicated to empowering black people onscreen and telling black stories, and put this above all else. In a world where these projects hardly get made and diverse stories never get told, I am eternally grateful for Chadwick Boseman’s work.  

His passing came as such a shock, many not even believing it at first and looking to one another to see who knew anything. Surprisingly, most people who worked with Boseman for years were just as surprised and heartbroken as the fans online, as we learned he had hidden his illness from the world since his diagnosis in 2016. In that time, he gave the world six films and did various press tours simultaneously, which made the situation even more unbelievable and heartwrenching.  

His family has since said that only Boseman’s closest family and friends knew of his condition.  Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther, said that he was also taken aback. He released a statement:

Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness. After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him, Because he was a caretaker, a leader and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art."

Many were shocked by Coogler’s statement. Since they have worked very closely together on Black Panther and have become very good friends since then, fans assumed that he may have told the director. Not only was Ryan Coogler shocked, but apparently Disney and Marvel Studios were not alerted until a couple days prior. On August 28, an urgent email was sent to Kevin Feige warning him of Chadwick Boseman's condition. A source close to The Hollywood Reporter claims that Chadwick himself was confident that he was going to beat the cancer up until recently, which may explain the urgent email and the sudden chaos. Fans should hold off on speculation and talks of the sequel and mourn the loss of a great man, actor, and hero.  

There are many reasons why Chadwick may have kept this from the public. If he would have released this into the public, it would have defined the last four years of his life. Chadwick most likely feared that all fans or journalists would ask him, “Hey how are you feeling?” and cautiously tiptoe around him like he is made of glass rather than treating him like a normal human being. Also, this is probably not how Chadwick wanted to be remembered. He wanted to be remembered for his work and his characters on screen, such as the infallible strength and hope of T’challa or the bravery and honor of Jackie Robinson.

Source(s): The Direct