The actor plays Queen Ramonda, the mother of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Shuri (Letitia Wright), in both Black Panther films, as well as in Avengers: Endgame.
During a recent appearance on Variety’s “Awards Circuit Podcast”, Bassett described a scene that she filmed with co-star Lupita Nyong’o that was ultimately cut in order to create a greater surprise later.
Caution: major spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follow!
In the film’s mid-credits scene, a staple of Marvel films, Nakia (played by Nyong’o) introduces Shuri to Touissant (Divine Love Konadu-Sun), her son with the late T’Challa.
However, it was originally planned for the audience to meet Toussaint earlier in the story, when watching Ramonda visit her grandson in Haiti.
“I filmed a scene,” Bassett said. “I did, but you know – cutting room, readjusting and reshaping it. What does Ramonda say? Oh, ‘Shuri, there’s something that I need to tell you.’”
Ramonda attempts to tell Shuri about T’Challa’s son early on in the film, but their moment is interrupted when Namor (Tenoch Huerta) emerges from a lake.
She continues: “I went to Haiti, of course. I met him, I was introduced to him… but it wound up on the cutting room floor.”
Ramonda’s secret is not revisited until the mid-credits scene, where Shuri reacts with delight at meeting her late brother’s son in Haiti.
According to Bassett, the choice to leave her scene out of the film was “to make it a surprise for the audience and to Shur”. She said: “It was the right way to go. Perfect to go about it.”
Notably, the film also features the shocking death of Queen Ramonda, something that Bassett only learned of when reading the script for the first time.
“I was not happy about that,” says Bassett. “I was not pleased. I was so shocked. I was… just mortified. You know, it’s like they gave you the greatest gift, and they snatchedit away.”
She went on to admit that she had to let director and co-writer Ryan Coogler know that she “didn’t like” this development for her character.
“Part of me was like, ‘Okay, don’t say anything, be strong.’ Then the other part of me was like… ‘I just got to let him know. That I don’t like this at all – and why? – and don’t do this.’ The love for Ramonda was so real and heartfelt, but you know – they always kill the heart and soul,” she said.