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Queen Ramonda Was Wrong To Retire Okoye From The Dora Milaje

Contains spoilers for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

"Blank Panther: Wakanda Forever" is an emotional ride with plenty of cool moments that are spectacular in their own right, but it also sets up future Marvel Cinematic Universe films coming in Phase 5 and even Phase 6. These include the rise of the Midnight Angels as a Wakandan force to be reckoned with, led by Okoye (Danai Gurira) in the climactic battle between the new Black Panther, Shuri (Letitia Wright), and Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) and his Talokan empire.

Of course, Okoye's switch from one unit to another can only be accomplished because she has been drummed out of the Dora Milaje — a surprising development considering how devoted she has always been to Wakanda and its leaders, including Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett). Some of Wakanda's most epic battles could not have been fought and won without her. Queen Ramonda was clearly wrong to blame Okoye for her actions and send her into an abrupt retirement — but this incident clearly led the warrior to move on to something different and exciting for fans of the MCU.

Okoye's punishment comes after a fan-favorite battle and Shuri's capitulation

The incident begins when Shuri insists on accompanying Okoye to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to track down the scientist who created the vibranium detector the U.S. government is using. When Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) informs his Wakandan friends that the scientist is a young female student at the university, it makes sense for Shuri, once a young scientific prodigy herself, to go along. And her presence turns out to be vital in getting Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) to cooperate without too much violence. Riri leads them to the garage where she keeps her inventions and her father's vintage car.

At that point, things go wrong. The FBI shows up, and so does Namor's crew; they want to kill the young scientist so she can't make any more vibranium detectors. But after a brutal bridge battle in which Okoye is her usual amazing self, it's Shuri's choice to go with the Talokans to stop the conflict. Okoye may be an excellent fighter, but she's only one woman. 

Fans online are singing her praise: "She always has the best fights," u/Lincolnruin said in a Reddit thread, while u/Moriar-T said, "The bald headed demoness was on point the entire time!" and u/AsteroidMike followed up with, "Apart from getting kicked out of the Dora." u/Uncanny_Doom noted on a subthread calling the fight scene one of the greatest in Marvel history, "Seeing her fighting uphill and truly challenged? Just great stuff."

The scene in which she's drummed out carries out the movie's themes

Marvel fans' hearts broke when Ramonda stripped Okoye of her position. For example, u/KuzcolovesPacha on Reddit said, "Ramonda going off on Okoye was an absolute masterclass by Angela Bassett." and u/Sion0X concurred, posting, 'When she yelled "haven't I sacrificed enough?!' I choked up." And many others expressed the same sentiment. 

The emotional scene was clearly an opportunity for Bassett and Gurira, who as Sion0X put it, "acted their a**** off" — but you could argue it wasn't justified for Ramonda to sack Okoye in such dramatic fashion. Clearly, Ramonda was angry that she had allowed Shuri to go on the mission, as advised by Okoye against Ramonda's inclinations. So, when Okoye returned alone without Shuri or Riri, the warrior becomes the brunt of her queen's anger. Instead, Ramonda turns to Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) for help.

Considering the later events of the movie — Shuri learning more about Namor's city and then returning safely to Wakonda with Riri to lead the battle against him — Ramonda's reaction seems like an overreaction. But her words to Okoye about having given up everything, so powerfully spoken, prove that this isn't just about one mission gone wrong. It encompasses the loss of all her family, the grief she is still experiencing over T'challa's death, and the responsibility she bears for keeping all of Wakanda safe in the face of rising world opposition to its power.

The scene sets up the Midnight Angels

After Ramonda's death, Shuri could reinstate Okoye to the Dora Milage — but she does not. Instead, Okoye becomes the first of a new elite unit within the Dora Milaje, the Midnight Angels. This makes "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" the first on-screen appearance of the Angels, first originated in the 2010 Marvel miniseries "Doomwar" T'Challa's bodyguards. Their iconic blue armor was added in 2016's "Black Panther" series by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze. 

Vulture notes that the Midnight Angels are being used differently in the films than in the comics, where their loyalty was to the people of Wakanda rather than to the royal family — a dynamic that seems strangely at odds in the new film because of Shuri's need for vengeance. You could argue that the Midnight Angels' commitment is also character development for Okoye, who in the first "Black Panther" initially showed more loyalty to the throne than to the family, serving under Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) for a time.

Given the Angels' role in the final climactic battle, it's clear that Okoye's forced retirement from the Dora Milaje was meant to lead to her becoming part of the new corps. And given that the Midnight Angels, in the comic series, were designed to fight Dr. Doom, their presence could also indicate that this most super-villainous of super-villains, will indeed appear imminently in the MCU — as has long been speculated, especially with a "Fantastic Four" film coming in 2024.