With King T’Challa confirmed to have passed on in Black Panther's latest MCU outing, someone else has stepped in to take control of Wakanda.
In Marvel’s newest film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the technologically advanced nation seems to be in a state of transition.
Their king, Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is gone, the nation grieves his loss, and to add insult to injury, Wakanda is drawn into a conflict with Namor, the undersea ruler of Talokan.
Black Panther 2 clearly has a lot to unpack, as well as further advance the arcs of characters like Shuri, M’Baku, and Okoye. And it seems that in the wake of T’Challa’s untimely demise, a Wakandan mainstay has assumed a leadership role.
Marvel Confirms Bassett’s Ramonda as Queen
According to an official Disney press release for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Angela Bassett’s Ramonda, mother of T’Challa and Shuri, has been named Queen of Wakanda due to her son’s death. The film’s producer, Nate Moore, explained how integral Queen Ramonda is to the narrative:
“Ramonda is such an important character. Here’s a mother who’s lost her husband and now her son. She has been ruling Wakanda in the absence of the king. It’s an interesting dichotomy seeing these two women as leaders, as the queen and the princess, and as mother and daughter.”
Director Ryan Coogler also spoke on “motherhood” as being a crucial theme of the movie as Ramonda suffers through the loss of her son:
“We were really excited to explore the relationship between Ramonda and Shuri. The first film has a lot of father-son dynamics—both the protagonist and antagonist had to deal with moving on after his father passed away. This film very much became a story with motherhood as a motif. So often moms have to continue to mother through difficult situations.”
Joe Robert Cole, who co-wrote Wakanda Forever’s screenplay, commented on Ramonda’s “unique point of view” while also confirming that the character wasn’t snapped away by Thanos and was ruling Wakanda during the Blip as well.
“She comes to the table having dealt with grief before— with her husband, having lost Shuri and T’Challa in the blip, then having them come back only to lose her son. She has a unique point of view.”
Angela Bassett herself also discussed her role in the film and how Ramonda has dealt with the grief she experienced over both her son and her husband, T’Chaka.
“It’s been a year since the passing of her son, of Shuri’s brother. And to Ramonda, tradition is important. Grieving, recognizing that grief, going through the various stages of it, that’s something that this mother understands, that this queen understands, with her husband and her son passing. She’s a woman of faith. Shuri’s a young woman of science. So, the respect for that, the recognition of that, the embracing of that is not in her wheelhouse. But a mother knows. A mother can see.”
The actress expressed her great reverence for the character, saying that she‘s “so grateful and blessed” that she has had the opportunity to bring Ramonda to life.
“It was an offer that couldn’t be refused. It was an opportunity to see women who look like me in their resplendent glory. And those opportunities were few and far in between. So, I’m just so grateful and blessed that it happened during my time and that Ryan [Coogler] and whomever the powers that be thought that I could bring her to bear, bring her to light. I’ve come to just love and admire and revere the character. It’s almost as if I’m on the outside looking in, looking at her as an audience member, as a woman of color, as a little girl that fell in love with cinema and characters and who they represent and how they can inspire on screen.”
The State of the MCU’s Wakanda
As mentioned above, Wakanda, as audiences find it in the sequel, is very much in a transitional state. T’Challa is dead and Wakanda no longer has its protector, the Black Panther.
Not to mention that using Heart-Shaped Herb, which gives all Black Panthers their enhanced abilities, is no longer an option, as the garden was burned by Killmonger in the original 2018 film.
So when Namor rolls up, it stands to reason that the Wakandans might not be as ready to fend him off, despite the best efforts of the Dora Milaje and the nation’s military forces.
Wakanda won’t be without a Panther for long though, as the trailers have made it very clear that someone new picks up the mantle. And although it’s fairly obvious who that character may be, fans will be eagerly awaiting answers when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lands in theaters on Friday, November 11.