I saw Black Panther two weeks after it debuted. It was a weeknight at 6 p.m., and the only available seat was in the front row. I looked around like, I knew this film was hot, but…seriously? Black Panther is already one of Marvel’s highest-grossing films ever. It’s received praise from pop culture icons including LeBron James, The Rock, and Will Smith, and has garnered critical acclaim.
Amid the movie’s rousing success, one minor detail keeps popping up in headlines: Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman, viewers have noticed, were jacked. We recycle this story almost every year, ogling at Hollywood’s paragons of physical perfection. In 2018, it’s Black Panther. Last year, it was Baywatch. In 2015: Creed. 2013: Pain & Gain. Articles invariably flood the internet about the grueling process the film’s stars underwent to transform into twisted steel and sex appeal.
Jordan and Boseman, the latest to inspire the trend, play estranged cousins turned nemeses in Black Panther. While battling for the throne of Wakanda, they box, run, flip, jump, and wrestle—and in the process, shirtless scenes abound.