Angela Bassett joins Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ cast, which somehow keeps getting better

The Black Panther movie isn’t out until 2018, but we’re already so hyped it’s ridiculous. Now that Angela Bassett is joining the Black Panther cast, our hype levels are through the freaking roof. Bassett will be playing Ramonda, mother to Black Panther/King T’Challa of Wakanda. Yep, she’s going to be a queen; well, a Queen Mother, or the Wakandan equivalent. “Queen Angela Bassett” just sounds so right, don’t you think?

BTW, before I get emails from angry nerdbros: yes, in the comics Ramonda is Black Panther’s stepmother rather than his biological mother. However, a) she comes into his life when he’s a baby and is therefore the only mother he knows, and b) Marvel Studios said she’s his mother in the movie, so suck it. Please back away from the keyboard and go outside for once.

Anyway, in addition to being amazing in general, this news means we’ll finally get to see Bassett in a superhero movie, a dream many have cherished ever since she turned down the role of Storm in the first X-Men film trilogy. She probably won’t be kicking bad guys in the face — although who knows? — but no doubt will display the power and grace that made her a frontrunner for Storm all those years ago.

Angela Bassett 2
CREDIT: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

Marvel’s announcement is the latest in a string of reveals that suggest Black Panther will be their most talent- and beauty-packed movie to date, ever since Captain America: Civil War revealed Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. Other cast members include:

  • Danai Gurira (Michonne from The Walking Dead) as Okoye, the head of Black Panther’s elite all-female guards, the Dora Milaje;
  • Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, part of the Dora Milaje and Black Panther’s love interest;
  • Forest Whitaker as an elder statesman of Wakanda;
  • Daniel Kaluuya (star of the upcoming horror movie Get Out) as Black Panther’s close friend and second in command;
  • Florence Kasumba as Ayo, part of the Dora Milaje (first seen in Captain America: Civil War and now co-starring in her own comic);
  • Michael B. Jordan as the movie’s antagonist, the revolutionary Erik Killmonger/N’Jadaka.

That’s a lot of beautiful people with impressive acting credentials. Seriously, did you see Nyong’o in Queen of Katwe, not to mention 12 Years a Slave? And Jordan has been making us cry since his acting debut as Wallace in The Wire. Many of these actors are also first- or second-generation African, which is a good sign for a movie set in Africa (albeit in a fictional country).

Overall, what these casting announcements promise is a step away from the overwhelming whiteness of Marvel movies, as well as the superhero movie genre as a whole. A superhero movie dedicated to showcasing black talent like Black Panther is a necessary step forward.