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Angela Bassett: 'Black Panther' sequel would make Chadwick Boseman proud

Bassett, who plays King T’Challa’s mother in the “Black Panther” series, opens up to TODAY about filming a movie “in the midst of loss.”

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" premieres Nov. 11 with one glaring absence.

Chadwick Boseman played King T’Challa, who transforms into the Black Panther, in the first movie from 2018. He died of colon cancer two years later at the age of 43.

Angela Bassett played T’Challa's mother, Ramonda (affectionally called Queen Mother), in the original movie and is reprising her role in the sequel. Speaking to TODAY at Glamour's Women of the Year Awards show Nov. 1, Bassett said the heaviness of Boseman's sudden passing was felt on set while filming in 2020.

"I was really, really very proud of what we all collectively were able to do in the midst of our loss of such a linchpin to the franchise, to the movie, to our lives," Bassett said.

Chadwick Boseman and Angela Bassett in Black Panther.
""I was really, really very proud of what we all collectively were able to do in the midst of our loss," Bassett told TODAY. Pictured: Chadwick Boseman and Angela Bassett in "Black Panther."Alamy

She said their shared loss further bonded the cast, and they put their pain and grief into the film.

"We stood proud. We stood strong, and we did exactly what he would’ve done," she said.

Marvel confirmed that it would not recast T’Challa, and said the movie would grapple with the character's death. The movie captures a complicated dynamic of mourning while also staying focused on the task at hand, similar to the actors' own journeys.

Bassett said the movie does not end with the grief it starts with. "It was exhilarating," she said of the ending.

The cast and other celebrities attended a private premiere of the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Oct. 26, at which co-star Letitia Wright honored Boseman by wearing an outfit similar to the one he wore at the 2018 Oscars. Ryan Coogler, the director of both films, wore a dog tag-style necklace with Boseman’s face on it.

"Black Panther," a 2019 Best Picture nominee, was a blockbuster hit. It earned more than $700 million domestically and an additional $646.8 million internationally while in theaters, according to CNBC.

Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, and Angela Bassett
Pictured: Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, and Angela Bassett, winners of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for "Black Panther" at the SAG Awards.John Shearer / Getty Images

In a 2018 interview with "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah," Boseman said the box office sales demonstrated the movie’s resonance among audiences.

"We knew that it would be important to see a Black superhero. We knew once people saw what these women were, that would impact some people. But you don’t know if (it's) going to be a niche group of people that love it," he said.

With that, the "Black Panther" team knew the movie was bigger than themselves. "We didn't know that it would be this impact," Boseman said.

Boseman said the empowering feeling viewers left theaters with was exactly what he wanted. "Everyone's the hero in their own story," he said.