Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman turned down Marvel’s request to give T’Challa a British accent, and yas king
Today in WAIT, WHAT? news: Chadwick Boseman stopped Marvel from giving his Black Panther character T’Challa a British accent. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, Boseman revealed that initial film plans called for his character to speak in either a British or American accent, as opposed to the African accent he actually used in the film. Boseman said: “They felt like that it was maybe too much for the audience to take. They felt like, would people understand it through a whole movie and if we do it now, we’re stuck with it.”
“If I speak with a British accent, what's gonna happen when I go home? It felt to me like a dealbreaker...This is such an important factor that if we lose this right now, what else are we going to throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?
We’re finding it a bit difficult to picture the African king speaking with a British or American accent. Black Panther was released in February 2018 and follows Boseman’s T’Challa as he returns to the African nation of Wakanda to take the throne after his father’s passing. Prospects of a rule are complicated when familiar faces return and put the nation at risk. Black Panther serves as Marvel’s first superhero film to center on a black superhero—opening the floodgates for calls of representation. The Ryan Coogler-directed film also sparked dialogue on Western imperialism and colonialism.
In the interview, Boseman also touched on creating the accent that needed convincing on Marvel’s part.
“I decided in my research that the Wakandans would speak with a click. Because some of the languages that have clicks are amongst the oldest in the planet. I wanted that sound in there. There’s different groups but the South African one brought with it this feeling of things that we knew.”
He added of the accent, “That was a huge thing; once we decided to do it, we went for it.” Here’s to hoping major studios will continue to push the boundaries of diverse stories by going for it. British accents not included.