The past two years have seen no shortage of hardship and tragic deaths, and we’ve lost countless people too soon, from the ravages of the coronavirus and also from the more mundane circumstances of life. One such death continues to linger in the public consciousness, especially as work continues to trickle out that shines a light on how talented and admired the person was.
That person is Chadwick Boseman, the universally loved and respected star of Black Panther, who died from a battle with cancer in the summer of 2020. His death provoked an outpouring of grief, surprise, and gratitude as fans all over the world reckoned with his sudden passing. Fans expecting to see the star in Black Panther two instead had to settle for a handful of voice performances as T’Challa in Disney+’s What If… series, which aired this year, Boseman’s final film performance was in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a Netflix film for which he was nominated for Best Actor (and notoriously lost to Anthony Hopkins). He may be done working, but those in the industry have not forgotten him.
Over the weekend, Netflix premiered a new movie, a black Western called The Harder They Fall, and while Boseman did not appear (he would have fit right in!), the filmmakers made sure to acknowledge him with a subtle tribute.
Director Jeymes Samuel littered his film with Easter eggs, including multiple references to family and friends, and even a store named Carter and Carter that nods to Jay-Z via his real last name. Eagle-eyed viewers caught note of a reference to Boseman – on the side of a train car – a clear tribute to the late actor.
At around the 27-minute mark of the film, stars Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield escort Idris Elba past a train. Written on the side of that train, in white letters, is “C. A. Boseman,” a reference to Chadwick Aaron Boseman.
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) November 3, 2021
The initials C.A.B. can also be seen on the locomotive. Which makes sense, seeing as Boseman was a powerful force in Hollywood who was only just getting rolling.