Movies & TV

Black Panther Nearly Had A Completely Incongruous British Accent, Says Chadwick Boseman

Marvel worried that audiences wouldn't understand the king of Wakanda
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It's easy to be wise after the fact, especially when the fact is that Black Panther made more than $1.3 billion worldwide, but it still seems mad to learn that Chadwick Boseman says that he had to convince Marvel's high-ups that the people of Black Panther's afrofuturist society in Wakanda should be allowed to speak with accents based on African dialects.

Boseman had decided while researching ahead of the film "that the Wakandans would speak with a click. Because some of the languages that have clicks are amongst the oldest in the planet." However, Marvel weren't into it.

"They felt like that it was maybe too much for the audience to take," Boseman told the Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast. "They felt like, would people understand it through a whole movie? And if we do it now, we're stuck with it."

As T'Challa, the king of Wakanda and the Black Panther, Boseman himself was originally meant to speak with a British or American accent. To Boseman, that was a "dealbreaker".

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"Like if I speak with a British accent, what's gonna happen when I go home?"

In the end, Boseman stood his ground: "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?"

A fair assessment. Plus, it would've been a bit odd to hear T'Challa with an English accent, especially when the film explicitly references the British Empire's taste for nicking stuff off people in the places it colonized.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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