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The Real Reason Chadwick Boseman Starred In Gods Of Egypt

Chadwick Boseman's death, first announced by his Twitter account on August 28, 2020, shocked the world. Fans, fellow celebs, and Boseman's MCU colleagues all shared their stunned reactions to the Black Panther star's untimely demise at age 43, a loss made all the more tragic by the revelation that he had filmed no less than seven of his movies while privately fighting colon cancer

In the wake of Boseman's passing, many people are looking back through his impressive body of work with new, slightly mistier eyes. Boseman had his fair share of amazing roles, from Marvel's esteemed king, T'Challa, to Spike Lee's Stormin' Norman Earl Holloway in 2020's Da 5 Bloods. However, like most actors, he was also involved in some less successful movies, such as Gods of Egypt. Alex Proyas' fantasy film, which ended up being one of the biggest box office flops of 2016, has become somewhat infamous for casting predominantly white actors to play ancient Egyptian gods.

Of course, the movie's whitewashing controversy is hardly Boseman's fault. In fact, the actor had his own, special motivation for appearing in the movie.     

Chadwick Boseman starred in Gods of Egypt to make sure at least one Black actor played an African god

When you look at the cast of Gods of Egypt, it does indeed look pretty white for a movie where the majority of characters are supposed to be North African deities. The film cast Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones) as Horus, the god of air, Gerard Butler as the villainous desert god Set, Geoffrey Rush as sun god Ra, and Brenton Thwaites (Robin in Titans) as the Egyptian thief Bek ... so, when you put them all together, it's not too hard to see where the critics were coming from. 

Chadwick Boseman, who played Thoth, was fully aware of the whitewashing controversy. In fact, back when Boseman was still promoting Gods of Egypt, he laconically acknowledged his agreement with these very criticisms in an interview with GQ, while also stating that the biased realities of Hollywood productions, at the time, were the exact reason that he took the part of Thoth: namely, because he wanted to make sure that the movie featured at least one African god whose actor was actually of African descent. In Boseman's words, "That's why I wanted to do it, so you would see someone of African descent playing Thoth, the father of mathematics, astronomy, the god of wisdom [...] But yeah—people don't make $140 million movies starring black and brown people."

Two years later, fortunately for everyone, Boseman then proceeded to wreck this statement with the ultra-successful Black Panther