Needless to say, the Black Panther sequel was an emotional ride.
First and foremost, the story had to deal with the passing of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. It explored the fictional characters of Wakanda grieving over his loss and what that process is like while simultaneously giving audiences the chance to properly mourn the loss of an icon.
But Black Panther wasn’t the only one to leave the land of the living. Queen Ramonda, both T’Challa and Shuri’s mother, was killed during Namor’s attack on Wakanda.
It was an emotional moment, and, as one would expect, there was some outcry among fans. How could they kill her off? Especially given everything the movie was exploring regarding Chadwick Boseman?
Well, now, Bassett herself has offered a few thoughts on the matter.
Queen Ramonda on the Reactions to Her Death
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Angela Bassett talked about the many reactions she heard from friends and audiences.
Bassett noted how she loved how her friends, and the audience in general, were “so impacted by it” and that they “wanted to believe [it wasn’t] the end:”
“… I love that friends, audiences have been so impacted by it. I’ve heard constantly, ‘I’m sad, and I’m mad.’ I was like, ‘Well, that’s how I felt.’ A friend texted me and said, ‘The theater is literally weeping.’ I was like, ‘I wish I were there. That’d be something to see. That would really be something to see and hear.’ So many texts. ‘Why didn’t you warn me? I couldn’t believe it.’ Or another friend, my roommate from college: ‘I kept saying, they have a Heart-Shaped Herb. Shuri will come up with something. She’s going to come back. I kept holding on until the end, because, by some miracle, Ramonda’s going to come back. She’s going to cough.’ They wanted to believe that was not the end.”
When asked if the actress could tell her husband prior to the movie’s release, she revealed that “[she] could tell him:”
“I could tell him. He wouldn’t want it to happen, either. He didn’t want to see that either.”
When it comes to her coming around to that plot point, and now it informed her performance, the actress noted how she aimed to “never [play] the end at the beginning:”
“You’re just looking at the script and just seeing the trajectory of the character and never playing ahead, never playing the end at the beginning. So you just have to forget about that as much as you can. And then, after you get over the shock of it and the disappointment of it, then you give into it, into doing what you have to do. Yeah. That was a long wet day, though, I’ll tell you. A long wet, wet day.”
Basset then went on to talk about the moment Ryan Coogler broke the news to her:
“I think I just let out an audible (mouths screaming the word ‘no’). And my husband was like, ‘What’s wrong? You OK?’ Of course, I can’t tell him all what’s going on, can’t spoil the story. Definitely didn’t tell the kids. Then it became this secret that I had”
Dead, But Not Gone Forever
Queen Ramonda's death definitely added even more sadness and tragedy to a story already filled to the brim with it. In that respect, it’s understandable why some would see it as a bad move.
However, at the same time, her passing helped to strengthen the themes and messages of the movie—and truly helped elevate an already good story.
Besides, as director Ryan Coogler has said, “to die is not really to die in this world.”
Wakanda Forever already had one glimpse of the Queen in the Ancestral Plane, so Marvel Studios could easily include more scenes like that in the future.
What is a shame, however, is that her death does mean there’ll be less of Angela Bassett’s extreme talent on display within the MCU. After all, she easily had one of the best performances in the film.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.