Why Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda should’ve been the new Black Panther in ‘Wakanda Forever’

Has she not sacrificed everything? Give her an action sequence!

Lester Fabian Brathwaite

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

And while I thoroughly got my entire life from Wakanda Forever, I couldn’t help but feel a bit… cheated. Sure, Shuri (Letitia Wright) as the new BP was great — very yas, literal queen literally slay — but what about Angela Bassett‘s Queen Ramonda? Where was her spin in that high-tech catsuit?

“We would kick around the ideas, and try to extrapolate where the story goes and what’s the most impactful choice — what’s the best journey?” co-writer Joe Robert Cole recently told Rolling Stone. “And where do you go after the film in terms of those characters? M’Baku certainly was someone that got kicked around a little bit.”

Angela Bassett in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’; the new Black Panther

Angela Bassett in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’; the new Black Panther

| Credit: Eli Adé/Marvel Studios

Ultimately Cole and his co-writer, director Ryan Coogler, picked Shuri, who has also served as Black Panther in the comics, because they felt there was “a natural organicness” to the choice. Meanwhile, Queen Ramonda, after running away with every scene in the film — and if there’s any justice, running away with an Oscar next year — suffers the fate of every mentor figure in a Marvel movie: a dramatic, selfless death.

According to Cole, the decision to kill off Ramonda was, naturally, in service of Shuri’s storyline.

“That exploration of [Shuri’s] journey and her journey with her mother — who has lost a son, who has lost her husband, and who is dealing with grief and trying to help Shuri through that grief — we felt like it would be tremendously impactful to Shuri, and obviously to the nation, for Ramonda to be lost in the flood. How Shuri pivots off of that, and how Wakanda will pivot,” Cole said, adding, “It launches our characters in new directions.” 

The death of a loved one, particularly a relative, as impetus or inspiration is one of the more tired tropes of MCU films: The first Black Panther had T’Challa cradling Forest Whitaker‘s dead Zuri and yelling, “Noooooooo!” into the abyss, and that was after T’Challa cradled his dead father, T’Chaka (John Kani), and yelled, “Noooooooooo!” in Captain America: Civil War. Did Ramonda need to die? In a movie so full of death, it feels a bit like (pardon the pun) overkill.

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

| Credit: Marvel Studios

Even Bassett seems to agree. “It’s horrible,” she told the New York Times of Ramonda’s death. “And I told them so. [Laughs.] I never fight my director, but I fought him on that. And of course I didn’t win. I’m not going to fight long. But I respect him. It was like, ‘Ryan, no. Ryan, please. Really? You’re going to hate that. You’re going to hate taking this step.'”

But okay, let’s say she did have to die. Couldn’t we have given Angie Bass at least one badass fight sequence as the new Black Panther? Now, I know, I know, there was no heart-shaped herb for Queen Ramonda to ingest in the ritual to become the ancient protector of Wakanda (thanks, Killmonger). So technically, she couldn’t have become the Black Panther until Shuri was able to replicate the herb using an artifact gifted to her from Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

Had Ramonda survived and Shuri created the heart-shaped herb anyway, as Queen of Wakanda, Ramonda would have been entitled to be the new Panther, who is both the nation’s ruler and protector. What I wouldn’t have given to see Angela f—ing Bassett slinking away from a burning tank à la that classic moment from Waiting to Exhale.


Imagine this, but as the Black Panther. You’re welcome.

Then, if we’re still on the dying kick, she can die in battle, Shuri can become BP, and things can proceed as planned. Besides, it’s not as if Bassett doesn’t know her way around a fight scene — she fought alongside cinema combat MVP Michelle Yeoh in Gunpowder Milkshake.

Alas, some dreams must remain just that. But, as compensation, I will gladly take Angela Bassett winning the Oscar for her bravura turn as Queen Ramonda — an award she should’ve won in 1994 for her bravura turn as Queen Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It.

Please and thank you and Wakanda forever.

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022 movie)

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