'Chadwick Boseman knew it could be his last performance as T'Challa': What If...? executive producer Brad Winderbaum

Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 last year due to colon cancer, achieved global stardom as King T'Challa of fictitious African country Wakanda aka superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020 of colon cancer.
Chadwick Boseman died in August 2020 of colon cancer.
Published on Aug 11, 2021 09:36 PM IST
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It was humbling to work with Chadwick Boseman on the animated series What If...?, says executive producer Brad Winderbaum, who believes the late actor "wanted to dig deep" for his performance as King T'Challa.

Chadwick, who died at the age of 43 last year due to colon cancer, achieved global stardom as King T'Challa of fictitious African country Wakanda aka superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Created by AC Bradley, the animated series reimagines certain characters and events from MCU.

"It was such a privilege to be able to work with Chad on the project. He really gave every performance his all. He worked with us and with Brian Andrews, the director, to craft these new versions of T'Challa, because he appears, over the course of the season, as a number of different versions of the character actually.

"And he enthusiastically wanted to dig deep into who the child was, and how these new situations would change him. It was a real honor to work with him. And so humbling that he did it knowing that it could be his last performance as the character,” Brad Winderbaum told PTI in a zoom interview.


The show, directed by Andrews, features fan-favorite characters, including Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger, Thor and more.

“What If...?” features the voices of more than 50 MCU cast members who reprise their roles, including Andy Serkis, Chadwick, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Hemsworth, Dominic Cooper, Emily VanCamp, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Michael B Jordan, Michael Douglas, Tom Hiddleston among others.

Brad Winderbaum said both he and Marvel chief and producer Kevin Feige believed it was the apt time to chronicle major moments from the MCU so far and explore alternate scenarios around it through this show.

"It wasn't until we were on the other side of the Infinity saga, that we had the opportunity to make shows for Disney Plus. So Kevin asked for ideas and I texted him one night, when I got home and by the next day, we were already kind of thinking about how to do it.

"And it became very clear very early that the only way to do it would really be through animation, because of the infinite canvas that we needed to explore. With these, ‘What If’ multi-verse stories.”

The challenge, Brad Winderbaum said, was to stop coming up with ‘What if’ concepts, as the possibilities were endless.

“At a certain point, you just have to almost set a timer and say, ‘All right, we're done’. Because you could sit there all day long, and just keep coming up with ‘What if’ concepts.

"But we also realise that the ‘what if’ question was not as important as the 'when", 'what' question and that the concepts that we ended up producing, were the ones that I think give us the best opportunity to tell a really well-rounded story about a particular character,” he said.

Brad Winderbaum hopes the audiences love the show as much as he does.

The first season of “What If”, the producer said, will be nostalgic for a lot of fans.

"In the first season of the show, all the concepts, they revisit places we know from the MCU. So some of it is nostalgic, but we also try to find the edges of the concept and push it as far as we can possibly go," he said, adding that the second season is in production right now.

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"We have more plans for animation. We're building kind of an animated pipeline at the studio now. We're really excited about what's coming around that,” he added.

Asked if the timing of releasing "What If" is right given the current scenario of the pandemic and if the superheroes could give a ray of hope to audiences, Brad Winderbaum said, “It's been such a challenging year for everybody. And if this show or the project that Marvel Studios gives anybody any relief or inspiration, that would be the highest possible achievement. I hope one day we can all be together, watching the work of Marvel Studios in one place again.”

The series premiered on Disney+ Hotstar on Wednesday.

(Written by Komal Panchamatia)

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022