Angela Bassett Shares Concerns About Ramonda’s Arc in Black Panther 2
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!
Casting Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in the original Black Panther was a huge win for the MCU in 2018. Given her impressive body of work, which already included a few turns playing the mother of conflicted celebrities (see: Notorious, The Jacksons: An American Dream), Bassett seemed like the perfect choice to embody T’Challa and Shuri’s mom. However, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arguably represents some of the best work of her career. Critics are currently praising Bassett for delivering one of the sequel’s strongest performances. In fact, many are even predicting an Oscar nomination in her future. But as it turns out, one key aspect of Ramonda’s character arc didn’t sit well with Bassett in the beginning.
Wakanda Forever didn’t waste any time in establishing its primary themes of grief and loss. The film’s opening scene showed Shuri’s futile attempt to cure T’Challa’s mystery illness (reflecting Chadwick Boseman’s real-life death from colon cancer in 2020) before immediately cutting to his funeral procession in Wakanda. But in a shocking twist, the film featured another major death as well. Ramonda ultimately lost her own life during Namor’s attack on her country, leading Shuri to become the new Black Panther. Regardless, Bassett (via IndieWire) confessed to director/co-writer Ryan Coogler that she thought this was a bad move.
“I objected,” revealed Bassett. “Yeah, I was like, ‘Ryan, what are you doing? Why? You will rue the day! You will rue the demise of [Ramonda]. People are gonna be so upset.’ He was like, ‘Angela, I know, I know, but look, to die is not really to die in this world. It doesn’t really have to mean that.’”
Coogler’s remarks prompted Bassett to recall the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which several characters were brought back to life. She also noted the use of the Ancestral Plane in both Black Panther films, which allows other deceased characters to speak with their living relatives. In the end, she acknowledged that “All kinds of crazy things happen” in the MCU, and warmed up to Coogler’s ideas.
Bassett also admitted that she found it difficult to sit on Wakanda’s throne following Boseman’s passing. But she once again credits Coogler for helping her find her confidence.
“He’s extremely clear on the story and what he’s doing,” noted Bassett. “But the way he carries himself around the cast and the crew, it’s so collaborative. He’s so self-effacing. That impostor syndrome that we’re feeling or whatever, he will just say it out loud. ‘I don’t know about these words. Are you OK with them?’ And he really invites you to have your say, be a part, which is wonderful. He doesn’t straightjacket you.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters.
Were you surprised by Ramonda’s death in the sequel? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1
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