By EW Staff
September 11, 2020 at 02:00 PM EDT
Chadwick Boseman
Credit: EW

Chadwick Boseman's death from colon cancer at age 43 on Aug. 28 shocked fans and friends alike.

The actor’s life and work are now remembered in the pages of a commemorative edition from Entertainment Weekly. The special issue celebrating Boseman looks back at his influential career and major roles through photos and features essays on his impact and the legacy of Black Panther, as well as interviews from the EW archives with the star himself.

Also inside are collected remembrances from his colleagues and famous friends, who led the outpouring of tributes on social media to a brilliant talent gone too soon. "The news of his passing is a punch to my gut every morning,” his Black Panther costar Lupita Nyong’o wrote on Instagram. Family and other loved ones said goodbye to Boseman at a private memorial service in Malibu, Calif.

For the millions who loved and admired Boseman, mourning the beloved actor took the form of bereaved posts, Black Panther watch parties on Twitter, and revisiting the earlier biographical films — about Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall — that launched Boseman’s movie career. EW has covered Boseman since his first big break in the film 42, when he talked to the magazine about the challenge of portraying Robinson, the first Black man to play modern Major League Baseball. The actor did four months of intensive baseball training and met with Robinson’s widow, Rachel. “That was scary, man,” said Boseman in 2013. “She showed me pictures and asked me why I thought I should play her Jackie. There’s no answer to that question. If you answer, you’re wrong,” he said with a laugh.

As with those other parts, Boseman hit that one out of the park. But no movie role had more cultural impact than his T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, in Black Panther. “The power of Black Panther is that it imagines a place that could be home to millions who don’t have one,” wrote Marc Bernardin for EW last year. “A place that isn’t marked by pain, but instead by progress. A land that knows its history and revels in it, rather than be embarrassed by it. Black Panther speaks to children who might still believe in fairy tales and gives them a new one.”

In a six-year run, Boseman would appear as Black Panther in four Marvel movies, the combined box office of which exceeded $7 billion. If he ever found it tiresome to give a fan a Wakanda Forever salute, there is no evidence of it. He knew what his character meant to people. “From South Carolina to South Africa he made so many of us proud of who we are,” The Daily Show host Trevor Noah wrote after Boseman’s passing. “For that he will always be our king.”

EW’s commemorative edition Chadwick Boseman: The Beautiful Heart of Black Panther is available now.