The cast for Black Panther was already shaping up to be one of Marvel’s most prestigious before today’s casting news, but the latest out of team T’Challa ratchets things up another notch. Marvel has announced that Angela Bassett, once nominated for an Academy Award for her role in What’s Love Got to Do with It?, will be joining the picture as T’Challa’s step-mother Ramonda.

Ramonda is the wife of T’Chaka when he dies in the comics. While fans might assume she will continue on as the step-mother of T’Challa, there is always a possibility she could be changed to his biological mother in the film. The press release describes her simply as his “mother.” Through the years Ramonda has played several different roles in the life of her son. At one point she was a driving force behind his marriage to the X-Man Storm. Might she push for matrimony in the film, as part of the process of T’Challa becoming king? In the more recent comics written by Ta-Nehisi Coates she has served as a hard-nosed ally to the Black Panther. Given that T’Challa is now without a father he will need someone experienced to bounce things off of, and that someone just might be Ramonda.

This casting news also continues a sequence of casting decisions which have brought in many awesome African American and African actors to the film. This led to a lot of excitement in some corners of Twitter, launching the #blackpanthersolit hashtag. After starting the MCU with films dominated by white men, Marvel Studios has been working hard to diversify its offerings. Luke Cage was an important step and Black Panther will be another. Bassett joins a cast that already includes Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita N’yongo, Forest Whitaker, Winston Duke, and Danai Gurira.

Currently Black Panther is scheduled for release on February 16, 2018. Filming should begin soon. Keep checking MCUExchange for any other casting news which may come in as the film prepares for photography.

Source: Marvel.