Shreveport Actor Returns To Wakanda In New Black Panther Film
This week, Marvel Studios will unleash their highly anticipated Black Panther sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever into theatres. The film has been a difficult movie to make, not just because of a global pandemic, but because of an unspeakable tragedy.
When The Black Panther character, also known as T'Challa, debuted in the MCU it was in 2016's Captain America: Civil War. The character of T'Challa was played by actor Chadwick Boseman. At that time, he was best known for playing Jackie Robinson in the movie 42. But after appearing as The Black Panther, he would forever be attached to that role.
Boseman owned the role, lived inside the role, essentially became T'Challa to fans around the globe. Something that Boseman never seemed to shy away from. Constantly greeting fans and peers with the "Wakanda Forever" salute anywhere he went...from red carpets to courtside at NBA games.
Tragically, Boseman passed away in 2020, prior to work beginning on the Black Panther sequel.
In 2016, Boseman had been diagnosed with colon cancer. He kept the illness a secret, and continued to act until his death. He was only 43-years-old.
The filming of Wakanda Forever was emotional due to the desire to honor Boseman and his legacy, while also addressing it in the story. Not only did Marvel have to navigate that, but the COVID-19 pandemic also created numerous issues with filming.
Shreveport actor Tim J. Smith worked on the original Black Panther film that was released in 2018. The film was a box office, and cultural success. It won three Academy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and even two Grammy Awards. It won various other awards as well.
It also made over $1.3 billion in the box office...making it one of the greatest film releases in history.
After getting to jump into the world of Marvel, and visit Wakanda in the first Black Panther film, Smith got a chance to return for the sequel. Smith will be back in this week's release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
We got a chance to ask Tim a little bit about his career, and what it means to be involved in something this big. Here's what he shared with us:
When did you start in the industry?
Tim - I got started back in 2005. Started at the very bottom of the totem pole as a background extra. I knew being an actor is what I wanted to do, so I took the necessary steps to work my way up the ladder. Getting involved in stunts has been a big spring board in my acting career. I do a lot of stunt work. It has helped me a lot in getting acting work. Most of my roles are action related of course, but I'm also getting more acting jobs where not a single punch was thrown or shot fired
How did you get hooked up with Marvel movies?
Tim - Black Panther 1 was my first Marvel project. It almost didn't happen, but the stars aligned and I ended up getting on. Black Panther 2 wasn't guaranteed, nothing ever is, but being apart of Black Panther 1 definitely helped with me being apart of this one
You've worked on other sets before, what is different about making a Marvel movie?
Tim - Marvel movies are different because you know it's gonna be successful long before shooting even starts. The Marvel fan base is such a huge force. I don't think they've ever had a flop. This one was different from any of them because we knew with the success of the first one that this one would do the same, and more than likely even surpass the success of the first one.
The Black Panther series has been important beyond the screen, into culture. What does that mean to you?
Tim - It means a lot to me because I know I had a hand in it. The best part is seeing a kid's face light up when they find out that I've actually been to and fought in Wakanda. Some adults get just as excited as the kids do, and it never gets old I know these films will be watched for generations to come and to know I was apart of something like this is really humbling, especially coming from a small town like Benton, LA and working on films as big as this one.
No spoilers, but what are your feelings as we are just days away from the movie opening nationwide?
Tim - In my lifetime, I've only ever seen 2 sequels that were better than the first ones. Terminator 2 and Top Gun 2. It's about to be 3 times now because this will be better than the first. We all knew it would be because not only will it be an epic superhero movie, but it is also a tribute to Chadwick Boseman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens nationwide this week. You can find multiple locations to see the film across the Shreveport-Bossier area, and all over Louisiana. Just remember when buying your ticket, that a Shreveport guy helped make this movie.