In Marvel's Black Panther, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is dealing with the loss of his father, T'Chaka (John Kani) is killed in an explosion in Captain America: Civil War. As T'Challa heads back to Wakanda — after dealing with wild shenanigans among a divided group of Avengers — he greets his mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and the army of the Dora Milaje, who are standing stoically beside them. Queen Ramonda is an advisor to T'Challa, and serves on the Wakandan High Council.
Award-winning actress Angela Bassett in her cylindrical-shaped crown and fiber-woven shoulder mantle looks on as we see her for the first time as the loyal leader of Wakanda. However, who is Queen Ramonda? What is her origin story?
Let's learn more about our Queen Mother, shall we?
Queen Ramonda —mother of King T'Challa, Shuri, and wife to the late King T'Chaka — is the wise-thinking matriarch of the royal monarchy in Wakanda. She is the surrogate mother to T'Challa; Shuri is her biological daughter. T'Challa was born under extraordinary and morose circumstances, when his mother N'Yami, the first wife of T'Chaka, died during childbirth. The Queen puts Wakanda first in all things and is highly trusted and respected among her people.
Born in South Africa, she met T'Chaka shortly after N'Yami passed. Ramonda married T'Chaka and gave birth to Shuri. Ramonda, also known as the Queen Mother, made her first appearance in Marvel Comics Presents #14 in 1989. In the issue, we see her role as mother to a new child and wife to the King of Wakanda.
In that comic, upon T'Chaka's death, Queen Ramonda grows upset and drifts away; and unfortunately, T'Challa believed that she had abandoned him. However, that was not the case and she was found to be kidnapped by a white supremacist.
We also learn more about King T'Challa's parentage in Rise of the Black Panther #1, which tells a more detailed story about his mother N'Yami. That particular book is worth checking out if you want to learn a bit more history about his biological mother.
The live-action film does deviate from the comic book. Although Ramonda's story is never told on screen, it's never established whether she is the surrogate mother to T'Challa. In the comics, Ramonda was also surrogate to Hunter — also known as "White Wolf."
In the second post-credit scene for Black Panther, we see Bucky come out, unfrozen, with one arm being referred to as "White Wolf" by the kids in the hut. Hunter is the name of the adoptive son of Ramonda and T'Chaka. We obviously know Bucky is not that White Wolf — but the nod to the comics may build a potential story there.
When Ramonda had disappeared, it was believed that she was with another man. Instead, Anton Pretorious — who kidnapped and assaulted Queen Ramonda — was finally defeated by T'Challa when he tracked Ramonda down and found her.
One could say that Queen Ramonda is a nationalist when it comes to who T'Challa dates. In the comics, she was unhappy with the union of T'Challa with American jazz musician Monica Lynne. However, Queen Ramonda did sign-off and approve of T'Challa's marriage to Kenyan Ororo Munroe, also known as Storm.
After a fight for the throne between Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T'Challa, Ramonda helps Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), who is also working with Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), to find a way to overthrow Killmonger. Ramonda and the others are the few who decide not to submit to Killmonger, even though he is technically the king. She later helps nurse her son back to health after it was believed he was left for dead after a fight with Killmonger for the throne.
The gorgeous grey locks Queen Ramonda wears in the film parallels the look Brian Stelfreeze illustrated in Black Panther Vol. 6 #1. If we couldn't get Bassett as Storm, at least this one look throughout the film will ease our nostalgia a bit of what could have been.
Once we get our Black Panther sequel (I'm counting on this announcement happening soon), we will likely to see Queen Ramonda — let's see where her character goes yet since obviously we have a lot of rich history to work with here!
Black Panther is currently in theaters.