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Author Jesse Holland discusses the magic of 'Black Panther' and the legacy of Chadwick Boseman

While fans of the series anticipate the release of "Wakanda Forever," author and journalist Jesse Holland reflects on what Black Panther means to fans.

2018's "Black Panther" was adored and described by many as a ground-breaking cinematic achievement — complete with Afrofuturism that was married to Black history and culture.

The Black super hero major box office release captured the attention of people around the world, and an award-winning writer from Orange Mound has a hand in the phenomenon of "Black Panther."

Jesse J. Holland rose to write of the distant and mystical land of Wakanda as the author of Marvel Comic's "Who is Black Panther?: A Novel of the Marvel Universe." The 368-page epic was released in 2017 — before the superhero's blockbusting box office arrival.

"In the comic book world, what was so important about Black Panther is that he was the first Black superhero," Holland said. 

Since 1966, the character of T'challa has been an example of a brilliant, strong and rich Black man who becomes the one and only Black Panther. The film, and it's upcoming sequel, primarily features a Black cast as well as a Black director. 

"Usually, in these types of movies, the African-American is the sidekick," Holland said. "You know, 'the Black guy is gonna die first,' but Black Panther comes along and they put the emphasis on African-Americans and Africans."

Such a move proved to be a cinematic success, and first grossing the original film earned $1.34 billion worldwide. Three Oscars and a "Best Picture" nomination also joined the list of accolades.

"That's why we're so anticipating 'Wakanda Forever' — to see where they're taking this story from because what they left behind was an incredible story, and now we want to see it move forward," Holland said.

The world mourned when it became clear that the first film's star, Chadwick Boseman, wouldn't be with audiences to see the franchise move forward.

"He was going to be the feature in 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,'" Holland said. "Unfortunately, his death made them rewrite the story."

Holland said that, even in death, Boseman has raised the Black Panther franchise even higher. While not even Holland knows the specifics of who will play the part, the upcoming sequel is said to introduce the first Black female superhero on-screen. 

What is known is that Boseman leaves behind a Hollywood legacy worthy of his Alma mater Howard University naming their fine arts building in the actor's honor. 

"He was one of the most talented young Black actors in Hollywood — period," Holland said.

   

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