Trailers for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” prepared audiences to deal with the loss of Chadwick Baseman as King T’Challa, but another source of grief in the film took its star Angela Bassett by surprise.
(Major spoiler alert ahead.)
In a new interview for Insider, Bassett revealed that her initial reaction to learning her character, Queen Ramonda, would die in the sequel was met with disbelief and a feeling of defiance towards director Ryan Coogler’s plan.
“I objected. Yeah, I was like, ‘Ryan, what are you doing? Why?” Bassett told Insider. She continued by telling him, “‘You will rue the day! You will rue the demise of [Ramonda]. People are gonna be so upset.'”
Despite her protest, the Academy Award-nominated actress said Coogler ultimately swayed her to accept Ramonda’s fate. “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.'”
He noted that in the Marvel Universe, characters have a way of reappearing in other projects. “All kinds of crazy things happen,” said Bassett.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opened in theaters on Nov. 11. It made $330 million globally and $180 million domestically. It is now the highest-earning film with a November release, a title previously held by “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which earned $158 million.
In the wake of T’Challa’s passing, Ramonda takes over the throne of Wakanda. Given the grand performance that Boseman pulled off in “Black Panther,” Bassett said it was surreal to sit in the celebrated actor’s place. “First of all, you acknowledge that feeling that you had that T’Challa/Chadwick sat here, and should be sitting here. And then here comes Killmonger, he sat there for a minute. And who deserves [it]? Who has the right to sit here? Yes, in this moment, in this time, it is Ramonda. But how do I hold that posture? How do I lead?” she told Indie Wire.
In another interview, the “911” star revealed she and the “Black Panther” cast visited Boseman’s gravesite to pay their respects before filming began. Actress Letitia Wright also noted in past interviews, she could hear Boseman cheering her on throughout the challenges she encountered while making the sequel.