Note: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” spoilers follow below.
Audiences and critics alike are buzzing about Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett’s emotional performance in the Marvel sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and while Bassett was eager to reprise her role as Queen Ramonda for co-writer/director Ryan Coogler, she admits she initially objected to one major twist for her character.
In the story of “Wakanda Forever,” Ramonda is the ruler of Wakanda for the bulk of the film, with King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) dying offscreen in the cold open. But just before the third act, Ramonda is killed by Namor (Tenoch Huerta) right in front of Shuri, who is suddenly thrust onto the throne. It’s an emotional moment in an already emotional movie that finds Ramonda, Shuri and the rest of Wakanda grieving the death of T’Challa (and in real-life, Chadwick Boseman), so it’s understandable that Bassett would have some hesitation.
“I objected. 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,’” she told IndieWire.
But Coogler convinced Bassett it was the right move after reminding her that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no one’s really dead. “‘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.’ All kinds of crazy things happen.”
Ramonda’s death feels pretty final in the finished film – she has a funeral just like T’Challa – but “Wakanda Forever” also finds Michael B. Jordan making a surprise reappearance as Killmonger after his character’s death in the first film (albeit in a dream-like scenario).
And in terms of MCU characters who have “died” onscreen only to return, there’s Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) just to name a few. Coogler’s right, there’s always a workaround.
Given the immense box office and critical success of “Wakanda Forever” already, “Black Panther 3” already seems like a foregone conclusion.