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Queen Ramonda Details That Take Your Black Panther Knowledge To The Next Level

Queen Ramonda is a key figure in the life of T'Challa, the Black Panther. In the comics, while she's not his birth mother, she and T'Challa have a close bond from a very young age. Indeed, her connection with T'Challa is one of many reasons why his father, King T'Chaka, decides to marry her. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ramonda (played by Angela Bassett) is his birth mother and plays a significant role as Queen Regent during periods when T'Challa is dead or presumed dead.

In both cases, Ramonda is one of the few people that T'Challa relies on for guidance and advice. She's also one of the few people whom he'll allow to push him in directions he'd rather not think about. For example, in the comics she pushes him to get married, knowing that Wakanda must have an heir. Even if she's not a native of Wakanda, she understands that the welfare of the country and its many disparate people and beliefs supersedes everything else. She's willing to make hard decisions in order to make this happen. While she was never the ruler of Wakanda in the comics, she still was in a position of authority and wisdom for both T'Challa and her daughter Shuri. As a result, she's one of the few people they trust with absolute certainty. 

Let's learn more about Ramonda's past in the comics and key facts that show just how important she is to the fabric of Wakanda and its Black Panthers. 

She met T'Challa before she met T'Chaka

In the comics, T'Challa's birth mother was N'Yami, a brilliant scientist with whom King T'Chaka was deeply in love. However, she falls gravely ill during her pregnancy and none of Wakanda's advanced science or traditions can help her. T'Chaka cuts a deal with Howard Stark to give him some Vibranium to use in exchange for technology that can save her. Unfortunately, Baron Strucker's HYDRA agents intervene and kill the courier. N'Yami gives birth to T'Challa but dies just a week later. 

T'Chaka grieves for his wife but knows he has to go on for the sake of his nation. He takes delight in the extremely bright and playful T'Challa and brings him along for a border inspection when he was just five years old. However, T'Challa is separated from the party and becomes lost. Ramonda is on a walkabout throughout Africa, trying to find ways to help her native South Africa. She finds T'Challa wandering through the jungle and returns him to his father and reports that T'Challa never cried aloud. T'Chaka is curious about why she's there and how she knows he's the king of Wakanda, but he invites her to the Golden City.

While Ramonda eventually falls in love with T'Chaka, the real reason why she stays is that she senses that T'Challa desperately needs a mother. Despite the opposition she feels from T'Chaka's advisers, she agrees to become his Queen. 

She was an activist in South Africa

One of the reasons why the comics version of Ramonda was on a walkabout was that she was hoping to gather support and arms to help overthrow the Apartheid state of South Africa, a country that enacted barbaric laws against its majority-Black population. She never intended to stay long in Wakanda, but first T'Challa and then T'Chaka changed her mind. When T'Challa is older, she and T'Chaka take him and his adopted brother Hunter to visit Johannesburg in South Africa. The purpose, as T'Chaka tells his boys, is to pay respects to their deceased grandmother but also to study an unjust government and consider how they as Wakandans might enact change. 

Ramonda shows the boys their grandmother's grave and explains how funerals were a central form of protest against the government while she was there. She urges T'Challa to be the revolutionary leader of a better world. Exploring the city with his brother, T'Challa sees a gang of white boys ganging up on a Black boy, and he intervenes to stop them. Hunter only intervenes to help T'Challa and realizes that T'Challa is the one who deserves to be king and will carry on his mother's desire to make the world a better place.

T'Chaka never spoke of her before he died, for a horrible reason

Ramonda lived in Wakanda until her father, Lugille, was killed in a peaceful protest that was advocating boycotts. T'Chaka accompanied her, but he had to return to Wakanda quickly because he was dealing with threats to the border because the world was becoming aware of Vibranium. Lugille was murdered by government forces. Ramonda remained to comfort her family but also to dig deeper into the incident and the violence of the police, who had fired into the crowd. 

Ramonda joins a protest that gets quickly put down, this time by police using clubs. She's arrested and effectively disappeared for a while. However, a white member of the government named Anton Pretorius becomes obsessed with her, frees her from jail, and then imprisons her against her will in his home. For many years, she's essentially his sex slave. T'Chaka comes looking for her, but his investigations reveal certain compromising photos that Pretorius has staged. Through his money and influence, he's able to convince T'Chaka that Ramonda left him for another man. 

A heartbroken T'Chaka gives up his chase and never speaks of her to T'Challa after she disappears. T'Challa eventually gets word that she's alive, and even a letter written under duress not to find her doesn't discourage him from rescuing her. He chooses not to kill a disgraced Pretorius, preferring to focus on being reunited with the woman he knew as his mother. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

She thought of Hunter, the White Wolf, as her son

In the comics, Hunter was adopted by a baby when a plane from nearby Mohannda crash-lands in Wakanda. He's found by a couple in a village; the man thinks the child has offended the gods and should be killed, and the woman thinks he's a blessing. T'Chaka decides to raise the boy himself. Despite protests from advisors who say it is unwise to raise a foreign child, and especially a white one, King T'Chaka ignores them and names the boy Hunter. He is also beloved by N'Yami and made to feel loved, but he is immediately jealous of and competitive with T'Challa when he is born

Hunter mourns N'Yami but is immediately drawn to Ramonda as a fellow outsider who is not quite accepted by all Wakandans. When they first meet, she senses his sadness and tells them that they're in it together as outsiders. When he confesses his jealousy of his brother to Ramonda but also notes that he thinks T'Challa is worthy of the throne, Ramonda reassures him. She says "Hunter, you are my son and my treasure. Wakanda's future is not complete without the both of you. You are so loved." 

Hunter eventually is made head of the Hatut Zeraze, the Wakandan secret police. One of T'Challa's first acts as king is to ban the secret police, exiling his own brother. While Hunter tries to kill him more than once, his feelings for Ramonda never change. 

While Hunter doesn't exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the "White Wolf" name is mentioned in reference to Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who comes to Wakanda to be healed.

She pretended to stage a coup

T'Challa slowly becomes aware of a massive plot to destabilize Wakanda and depose him. It's triggered by rogue US intelligence agents, working through the Russian mafia and the secret police of a Central American country. They destabilize Wakanda's neighbor Ghudaza, leading to Wakanda taking in refugees. One of them is the evil clergyman Reverend Doctor Michael Ibn al-Hajj Achebe, who makes a deal with Mephisto to gain power and influence in Wakanda. He leads forces in an uprising against a highly unpopular T'Challa, who agrees to let Achebe temporarily rule Wakanda with Ramonda.

Ramonda seems to secretly relish this idea, reminiscing about being rejected by the people of Wakanda. She reveals to Achebe that she had been waiting for years to have a chance to rule, but their alliance is strained at best. Indeed, an increasingly unhinged Achebe bashes Ramonda on the head, seemingly killing her, and then activates codes needed to set T'Challa's Panther battle tanks loose on Wakanda. 

Of course, it was all a ruse. T'Challa was trying to flush his enemies out into the open, so he could deal with them with total certainty. The only person he can trust in the process is Ramonda. She even fakes her own death, as she knows Achebe will try to kill her. She inhabits the role as best as she can as a betrayer, but the reality is that Ramonda will never turn on her son

She encouraged T'Challa to marry Storm

While in the MCU, T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) romantic partner is Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), he has a very different relationship in the comics. After the Black Panther manages to deal with his father's killer, Klaw, once and for all, his mother reminds him of his duty to marry and produce an heir. While Monica Lynne was once his fiance, he ultimately decides against marrying her because he feels that his duties as king preclude his ability to be a good husband to her. Ramonda is skeptical of Monica because she's not a warrior, and Wakanda's warrior culture demands someone who can keep up with the Black Panther. 

T'Challa and Ororo "Storm" Munroe, of the X-Men, met as teenagers in Kenya when T'Challa was on a walkabout. He was still trying to process the death of his father and expand his field of knowledge before he was ready to take the throne and mantle of Black Panther. Storm is helping local children, providing water, and routing bandits. They think about a life together, but T'Challa's obsession with Klaw (not to mention his brother Hunter's attempts to kill him) pushes him away from Storm, and they go their separate ways. 

When he is ready to marry, Storm is the one for him. It's just a matter of convincing her. She is still angry at him for abandoning her. Ultimately, Ramonda is the one to convince Storm to pull the trigger, telling her that T'Challa never stopped loving her. Storm searches her heart and says yes to T'Challa. 

She pushed Storm to save T'Challa and for Shuri to become Black Panther

When Morlun, Devourer of Tokens, comes to kill T'Challa and feed on the Panther God token, it is Ramonda's strategy that saves the day. T'Challa is already near death, but it's Ramonda who pushes Storm to travel to the land of the dead to reclaim T'Challa's soul. Her powers as a weather goddess are enough to scatter the infinite armies of Death, but only for a while. The problem is that the exchange rate is a soul for a soul, and Storm is willing to sacrifice her soul to bring T'Challa back, so he can save his people.

At the same time, she pushes Shuri to perform the ritual surrounding the heart-shaped herb and become the Black Panther. Shuri has trained to become the Black Panther for much of her life, but she's always in the shadow of her older brother. Unlike in the MCU's version of the story in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Shuri fails the ritual because of her arrogance and belief in science and technology over magic, but she also isn't devoured by Bast the Panther God.

Zuri and W'Kabi are both killed by Morlun as they defend T'Challa's body, but Shuri becomes the Black Panther. She lures him to an ambush, where the Wakandan magician Zawavari performs a ritual that swaps T'Challa's spirit for Morlun's. T'Challa and Storm both live, while Shuri is also the Black Panther. It's the boldness of Ramonda's thinking that makes it all happen.

She sentenced Aneka to death

Wakanda suffers a series of disasters, orchestrated by Doctor Doom. Doom manipulates Namor and Atlantis into flooding Wakanda. Thanos invades Wakanda, thinking there's an Infinity Stone there. Shuri, who was ruling Wakanda and acting as Black Panther, is seemingly killed. T'Challa retakes the throne, but his position is shaky. There is lawlessness in the land, and the chieftains of various villages act as a law unto themselves. 

Aneka, a member of the Dora Milaje, sees injustice in a village, as a chieftain is abusing the women there. After her admonishment has no effect, she takes the law into her own hands and kills him. Aneka is sentenced to death for killing a chieftain without authorization, and while Ayo argues on her behalf, Ramonda refuses to bend the law any further. In fact, the Dora Milaje's whole existence is devoted to upholding the law, and Aneka abandoned her responsibilities. She allows Aneka's death sentence to stand.

Ramonda's decision has enormous implications. Ayo steals the Midnight Angels prototype armor and takes an extra suit for Aneka. Ayo busts her out of prison and they escape, meting out justice on abusive warlords and eventually setting up a breakaway state in Jabari territory. It leads to an existential crisis for Wakanda that requires some creative problem-solving to fix.

She is nearly killed by the People

Wakanda is a country with many disparate tribes and cultures. It took the Black Panther to unite them all, but there are times that even this has not been sufficient. Because of Wakanda's extensive vibranium resources, external elements have always taken an interest in destabilizing the country from within. A case in the point is the revolutionary group known as The People. They are led by the nature-sorcerer Tetu and the mind-warping Zenzi. However, their chief ally and financier turns out to be the sinister tech mogul Zeke Stane. He wants to rule Wakanda in order to get at its vibranium supply. 

As the Black Panther struggles with the terrorist activities of the People and the rebellion led by Aneka and Ayo, Ramonda exhorts him to go out and be among the people in order to inspire. Stane has the People respond with a suicide bomber attack on the Golden City, killing dozens and putting Ramonda in a coma. Only the vibranium in T'Challa's suit saves her from death. T'Challa brings Shuri back from the land of the dead, and she helps him defeat The People. Ramonda is revived, and while she's temporarily paralyzed, she is overjoyed to have Shuri back. Eventually, she is able to walk again. 

She has a special relationship with Shuri

In the comics, Ramonda has three children, but only Shuri is her biological daughter. As such, she is resistant to Shuri's fondest desire: to become the Black Panther. On the day that T'Challa won his challenge and defeated his uncle S'yan to claim the mantle, Shuri was delayed in reaching the ring to make her own claim. T'Challa did go on to train her in combat, but she also went her own way, becoming Wakanda's greatest scientist.

T'Challa is forced to leave Shuri behind in order to save the universe, and Thanos's thrall Proxima Midnight encases her in the Living Death: total immobility. Shuri's spirit is sent to the Djalia, a spiritual plane where every memory of Wakanda is contained. The spirit that is there to guide her is a griot that comes in the form of Ramonda. This is no accident, as Ramonda's advice and guidance had both pushed and protected Shuri for years. On the spiritual plane, the spirit was able to impart so much wisdom and knowledge precisely because this was a form that Shuri would be ready to listen to. When Shuri was revived, armed with all of the memories of Wakanda, she know how mystical powers to match her scientific acumen. As the spirit of her mother and all of her mothers told her, Shuri embodied past, present, and future. 

Notably, in the "Black Panther" films, Shuri's (Letitia Wright) artificial intelligence assistant is named Griot.  

In the MCU, she was Queen Regent twice

Warning: Major spoilers for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ramonda is the mother of both T'Challa and Shuri. In an ideal world, her role would simply have remained as the Queen, with no responsibilities toward ruling. However, this was not the case. First off, she has to maintain calm in Wakanda after the assassination of T'Chaka (John Kani). Things seem to calm down when T'Challa ascends to the throne as planned, even though M'Baku (Winston Duke) of the Jabari tribe challenges him in combat. 

However, things go sideways when N'Jadaka, aka Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), arrives in Wakanda to challenge T'Challa. When Killmonger wins and destroys the heart-shaped herbs, she goes off with Shuri and Nakia to offer their remaining plant to M'Baku. When T'Challa proves to be alive, her time as a fugitive ends. However, when Thanos (Josh Brolin) comes and successfully executes his plan to end half of all life, both Shuri and T'Challa are snapped into dust. While not much is shown about this era, Ramonda takes the Wakandan throne because there's no one else. There's also no one who can claim in it battle because the mantle of Black Panther ended with the destruction of the heart-shaped herbs. 

T'Challa's return meant that she could step down once again, but his death pushed her back onto the throne, seemingly for good. She repelled attacks from other countries trying to get vibranium and sacrificed her life to save Riri Williams (Dominque Thorne) when Talokan attacked. While she was a reluctant ruler, she gave it her all and was a major source of strength for both her country and her two children.