Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Director And Writer Explain Why The Sequel Killed Off Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda

angela bassett as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Since its introduction in the MCU, Black Panther has remained a fan favorite corner of the shared universe. The generations of fans were thrilled when Wakanda Forever finally hit theaters last month, and continued the story of the beloved fictional country. And Black Panther 2’s director and writer both recently explained why the sequel killed of Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda.

The cast of Ryan Coogler’s original Black Panther featured outstanding talent, including the one and only Angela Bassett. Her role was greatly expanded in Wakanda Forever, before sacrificing herself to save Riri Williams during Namor’s assault. Bassett has been honest about pushing back against this plot line, but it ultimately did serve the movie’s plot. Writer Joe Robert Cole recently explained the thought behind Ramonda’s death during Black Panther 2’s Artisans Screening Series conversation (via Variety), and why it was important to Shuri’s story about grief and forgiveness. As he shared:

How do you escalate that to where what happens at the end of the film feels earned? How can we get her to a place where we believe in her vengeance; and that fight on the beach that she is trying to kill this man, and that she has what it takes to take out this guy who is so powerful? We felt like that was something that made the most sense for our story.

Points were made. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a meditation on grief, particularly showing how Letitia Wright’s Shuri was still unable to properly move on from the passing of her brother T’Challa. And these emotions reach a boiling point when her mother is also taken from her, inspiring the Wakandan Princess to recreate the heart-shaped herb and become the next Panther.

Given just how powerful Angela Bassett’s performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was, there were no doubt plenty of fans who were disappointed to see her killed off during the acclaimed sequel. But no one is really ever gone in Wakandan Culture, and Ramonda was able to appear to Shuri from the Ancestral Plane during her final battle with Namor– ultimately helping her decide on forgiveness and granting him mercy.

Of course, Black Panther director/co-writer Ryan Coogler also has thoughts about the contents of Wakanda Forever, including the decision to kill Angela Bassett’s signature character. At the same appearance he confirmed that the Oscar nominated actress did indeed push back on this plot twist, but it ultimately was important to the story he was trying to tell. As the Creed filmmaker explained,

I can tell you, all of the lessons that I’m teaching my kids, everything I want to put in them, it’s not necessarily for when I’m here. You know what I mean? It’s for when I’m gone and when they mom is gone. We hope that these things stay with them. In this movie, the ultimate test of that relationship was that. Everything up until the midpoint is Ramonda trying to teach Shuri how to live, how to thrive, how to mourn healthily. Did she learn the lessons that her brother taught her? Did she learn the lessons that her father taught her? Did she learn the lessons that her mother taught her? Or not?

Ryan Coogler had to greatly change the story of Black Panther 2 following the unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman in the summer of 2020. And these comments by the acclaimed director show just how methodically he approached his work on Wakanda Forever, and servicing the story of Shuri in particular. It took almost the entire movie for her to finally embrace the mantle of the Panther, and it was directly connected to the death of her mother.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still in theaters now and continuing to make money at the box office. The next MCU movie hitting the big screen is Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania on February 17th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. Although we shouldn’t expect to see Angela Bassett return to the MCU anytime soon. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.