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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was always going to be a heavy movie with a lot of big emotions, but one of its stars was convinced that one of the film's biggest developments was a step too far... until director Ryan Coogler talked her into it.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The untimely and tragic death of star of Chadwick Boseman looms large over the whole of Wakanda Forever, as we always knew it would. The film opens with King T'Challa's offscreen death, and many of its central characters spend the rest of the film grappling with the loss, trying to come to terms with their places in the kingdom now that its leader and protector is gone.
It's a heavy burden for all of them, but especially for Angela Bassett's Queen Ramonda, who has to take up leadership of the Kingdom of Wakanda after losing both her husband and her son, then deal with the fallout when her daughter Shuri (Letitia Wright) ends up missing. In one of the film's most powerful scenes, Ramonda lets her grief and her bitterness pour out in the Wakandan throne room, making it known that she's very aware of everything she's lost.
Then the film loses Ramonda. When Namor (Tenoch Huerta) launches an attack on Wakanda's capital, the throne room itself is hit hard by the water bombs of Talokan, and Ramonda drowns beneath it before Shuri can save her, leaving the young princess as the new leader of the realm. It's a big moment that serves to complete Shuri's arc and teach her an important lesson about what she's really fighting for, but Bassett herself was not convinced.
“I objected,” Bassett told IndieWire. “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.'”
And of course, some people were upset, which was exactly the point of the sequence. So, how did writer/director Ryan Coogler talk Bassett into accepting her fate? He simply pointed out that they were making a comic book movie, and in comic book movies, deaths aren't always final.
“‘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,'" Bassett recalled.
So, if Black Panther 3 ever materializes, don't be surprised if you see Queen Ramonda walking the ancestral plane, talking to Shuri.
Looking for more superhero action in the meantime? Stream Fantastic Four and more on Peacock right now.