Chadwick Boseman is the man in Hollywood, heading some of the most popular and highest-grossing movies in recent box office history (or, you know…ever). But long before he was a badass cinematic superhero, Boseman was still a badass. He played a lot of famous real-life people, and he even had quite a few television appearances before he became box office gold.
Check out these highlights from Chadwick Boseman’s filmography.
10. The Kill Hole
Character: Lt. Samuel Drake
Boseman updates the Rambo story as an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD and playing a deadly cat-and-mouse game in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. While the 2012 movie’s plot and writing leave a lot to be desired, Boseman’s strong performance showed his leading man chops.
Character: Thurgood Marshall
This 2017 legal biopic has Boseman playing Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Of course, this movie is set long before he accomplished all that, when he was an NAACP lawyer in the 1940s American East Coast.
8. Gods of Egypt
Boseman plays Thoth, the Egyptian God of Wisdom, in this overlooked 2016 action fantasy by Lionsgate. He carries the role well, showcasing his comfort zone in playing royalty and deities far above us on the evolutionary ladder.
7. Avengers: Endgame/Infinity Wars
Character: Black Panther
Black Panther is probably the most pivotal character to the survival of the Marvel universe. As soon as Wakanda is revealed, it becomes a constant battleground for the armies of Thanos against the heroes. And when everyone is resurrected in Endgame’s emotional climax (late spoiler alert), his Wakandan chants are enough to make you want to punch Thanos yourself.
6. Draft Day
Character: Vontae Mack
This 2014 Kevin Costner sports film has a lot of similarities to Jerry Maguire, making Boseman the Cuba Gooding Jr. he’s scouting. It’s one of the great football movies that focuses on the business behind the ball, and Boseman turns in a stellar performance as a college standout star player from Ohio State looking to be the year’s number one first round draft pick.
5. Message from the King
Character: Jacob King
4. Persons Unknown
Character: Graham McNair
Character: Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson is remembered as the first African American athlete allowed to play in Major League Baseball instead of being relegated to far inferior Negro leagues, as was custom in the 1940s. Boseman turns in a powerful performance in 2013, showing the hurdles this trailblazer had to overcome to get there.
2. Get on Up
Character: James Brown
James Brown was a highly energetic and charismatic bandleader and front man. Boseman does an amazing job of reincarnating the man and showing the story behind the music and performances we all loved. James Brown was a legend long before his mugshot became an early Internet meme. We’ll always remember the godfather of soul well, thanks to this 2014 biopic.
1. Black Panther
Black Panther isn’t grouped with the rest of the Avengers movies simply because it proved Boseman could carry his own star vehicle and inspire a generation in the process. This 2018 Marvel blockbuster is the highest-grossing movie ever about a black superhero, and many consider it the first, despite Spawn, Meteor Man, and a handful of others predating it.