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Chadwick Boseman, the actor best known for playing King T’challa in the Black Panther and Avengers movies, has passed away at the age of 43. The news of his death was revealed on his Twitter account by his family on Friday, 28 August 2020. The news sent shockwaves around the world as nobody but his closest family and friends knew that he had been suffering from cancer.

Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, the same year he first appeared in the Marvel universe as the Black Panther. People are shocked at how much he did in the four years since his diagnosis. His family revealed that he had stage 3 cancer when it was first diagnosed and over the past four years it worsened to stage 4 cancer. Despite this, he was able to keep working. Since 2016, Boseman has starred in ten movies, one of which was due to be shown for the first time on August 31. Netflix delayed the preview for the movie, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, until an unspecified date.

After the release of Black Panther in 2018, Chadwick Boseman became an overnight sensation around the world. The movie made more money than any other solo superhero movie, surpassed only by the Avengers movies, two of which he starred in as King T’challa. Black Panther became a cultural phenomenon as the first black superhero to have their own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It paved the way for other superhero movies including Captain Marvel, the first female-led Marvel movie, and Shang-Chi which is the first Asian led Marvel movie and will release in 2021. The actor who is playing Shang Chi, Simu Liu, acknowledged the barriers that Black Panther had broken down after the actor’s death. “I want to be crystal clear: without Chadwick, and what he gave to his character, there is no Shang Chi. Period. My career rides on the coattails of a great man.”

Chadwick Boseman was also well known for playing hugely influential figures from history. His movie “42”, about the life of Jackie Robinson, was his breakout role. Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player to join Major League Baseball in the US and was a personal hero of Boseman. He also played the singer James Brown in the movie “Get on up” and the lawyer Thurgood Marshall in the movie “Marshall”. Thurgood Marshall was the first black Supreme Court justice in the US and a prominent figure in the civil rights movement. Although his career only took off in 2013, Boseman was able to make a lasting impact on American cinema that will be remembered for years to come.

Difficult words

Shockwave (n): A widespread feeling of shock felt after a surprising event.

Preview (n): An opportunity to see or experience something before it is widely available. (Often used when the press is allowed to watching a film before the public.)

Sensation (n): Widespread interest or excitement.

Surpass (v): To pass or go beyond a point.

Phenomenon (n): An occurrence that happens to or affects a wide range of people.

Pave (v): To clear or create a path.

Coattail (n): Two flaps at the back of a tailcoat, often used in the idiom “to ride on someone’s coattails” meaning to achieve success from association with someone else.

Influential (adj): Causing influence, being powerful or significant.

Prominent (adj): Being important or famous.

Activities

For listening practice, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

1. ShockwaveA. Occurrence
2. PreviewB. Excitement
3. SensationC. Famous
4. SurpassD. Back of coat.
5. PhenomenonE. Widespread surprise.
6. PaveF. Significant
7. CoattailG. Go beyond.
8. InfluentialH. Create a path.
9. ProminentI. Early viewing.

True or False?

1. Chadwick Boseman played a superhero in Marvel films. T / F

2. Boseman’s passing did not come as a surprise to most of the public.  T / F

3. The Marvel universe already had several black superhero films before Black Panther. T / F

4. Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016. T / F

5. Chadwick Boseman was only able to take part in two films after his diagnosis.  T / F

6.  Netflix delayed the preview of a movie starring Chadwick Boseman. T / F

7. Black Panther made more money than any other solo superhero movie. T / F

8. Marvel has not yet planned to make an Asian led superhero film. T / F

9. Jackie Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player. T / F

10.  Chadwick Boseman played many influential people. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. the / world / sent / news / shockwaves / The / around

2. diagnosed / cancer / was / with / Boseman / colon / 2016 / in

3. has / Since / Boseman / starred / in / ten / movies / 2016,

4. movies / It / paved / for / superhero / way / other / the

5. the / player / Jackie Robinson / first / was / black / baseball

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio: 

PassedSuperheroOvernight
AcknowledgedDiagnosisSuffering
ImpactWorsenedBreakout

Chadwick Boseman, the actor best known for playing King T’challa in the Black Panther and Avengers movies, has (1)_________ away at the age of 43. The news of his death was revealed on his Twitter account by his family on Friday 28, August 2020. The news sent shockwaves around the world as nobody but his closest family and friends knew that he had been (2)_____________ from cancer.

Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, the same year he first appeared in the Marvel universe as the Black Panther. People are shocked at how much he did in the four years since his (3)____________. His family revealed that he had stage 3 cancer when it was first diagnosed and over the past four years it (4)_____________ to stage 4 cancer. Despite this, he was able to keep working. Since 2016 Boseman has starred in ten movies, one of which was due to be shown for the first time on August 31. Netflix delayed the preview for the movie, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, until an unspecified date.

After the release of Black Panther in 2018, Chadwick Boseman became an (5)______________ sensation around the world. The movie made more money than any other solo superhero movie, surpassed only by the Avengers movies, two of which he starred in as King T’challa. Black Panther became a cultural phenomenon as the first black (6)_____________ to have their own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It paved the way for other superhero movies including Captain Marvel, the first female-led Marvel movie, and Shang-Chi which is the first Asian led Marvel movie and will release in 2021. The actor who is playing Shang Chi, Simu Liu, (7)_______________ the barriers that Black Panther had broken down after the actor’s death. “I want to be crystal clear: without Chadwick, and what he gave to his character, there is no Shang Chi. Period. My career rides on the coattails of a great man.”

Chadwick Boseman was also well known for playing hugely influential figures from history. His movie “42”, about the life of Jackie Robinson, was his (8)______________ role. Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player to join Major League Baseball in the US and was a personal hero of Boseman. He also played the singer James Brown in the movie “Get on up” and the lawyer Thurgood Marshall in the movie “Marshall”. Thurgood Marshall was the first black Supreme Court justice in the US and a prominent figure in the civil rights movement. Although his career only took off in 2013, Boseman was able to make a lasting (9)___________ on American cinema that will be remembered for years to come.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Have you watched any of Chadwick Boseman’s movies?
5. Do you have a favourite Chadwick Boseman movie?
6. What’s the most shocking celebrity death you remember?
7. Did Black Panther have a big impact in your country?
8. Should Marvel recast Black Panther?
9. If they shouldn’t recast Black Panther, what should they do?
10. How do you think this will affect the Avengers movies?
11. Is it important for superheroes to be diverse?
12. Should parents tell their children that Chadwick Boseman died?
13. Do you think Chadwick Boseman’s death will have a big impact on children?
14. Are people regularly tested for colon cancer in your country?
15. Should people continue working if they get cancer?
16. Do you think it is better to keep a cancer diagnosis secret?
17. Do you have a favourite superhero?
18. Are there too many superhero movies these days?
19. Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture but didn’t win. Do you think a superhero movie could win Best Picture?
20. Who is your favourite actor?