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Was That A Major Black Panther Cameo In Thor: Love And Thunder?

Contains major spoilers for "Thor: Love and Thunder"

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is out in theaters now, and the titular hero is up against a new foe. Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) is on a mission to kill all gods across the universe, a ruthless rampage that leads him to the shores of New Asgard. While Gorr's actions threaten to usher in a new age of chaos, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is faced with the return of his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who now bears the mantle of "The Mighty Thor." It's a complicated time for the God of Thunder.

One of the film's core strengths is that it explores the mysterious lives of the gods and goddesses that populate the mythologies of various cultures. Although we've seen Norse gods like Odin (Anthony Hopkins), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and Frigga (Rene Russo), the latest "Thor" franchise installment introduces viewers to a variety of deities in Omnipotent City, a gilded temple where gods can partake in heavenly debauchery away from the woes of mankind. The star-studded lineup of deities is key to the plot, but also provides the opportunity for levity within a narrative that's as serious as it is silly. Some of the faces of god(s) are more recognizable than others, including one figure who should be familiar to fans of the MCU.

The panther goddess Bast hangs out in Omnipotent City

With Gorr in possession of the Necrosword, our heroes know that they'll need to raise a formidable army in order to defeat him and ensure the safe return of Asgard's youth. To accomplish that goal, Thor, Jane, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Korg (Taika Waititi) hitch up a converted amusement park ride and head to Omnipotent City. While Thor tries to iron out a deal with the inevitably pompous Zeus (Russell Crowe), viewers are privy to a glimpse at the gods and goddesses assembled — including the exceedingly adorable God of Dumplings. However, there's an even more interesting idol in attendance: The panther goddess Bast, whose lore is extremely important to the "Black Panther” franchise. 

Although Bast only appears in flashback as a shadowy feline figure in the 2018 solo film starring Chadwick Boseman, viewers finally get to see the goddess in full physical form in "Thor: Love and Thunder." Played by actress Akosia Sabet, Bast (credited as "Bastet God" on IMDb) returns to the MCU for the first time since her premiere appearance. Knowing Kevin Feige's proclivity for Easter eggs and callbacks, it's unlikely to be her last.

Her visage isn't as bombastic as some of the deities seated around her, but her cat-eared helmet and golden adornments still draw the eye. Her appearance is brief, but her presence cements director Taika Waititi's attention to detail. Even though Thor is off-Earth going on his own adventures, the moment reminds viewers that the events of the film correlate to a larger narrative. 

Bast's significance in Black Panther

Within the Marvel canon, the panther goddess has been worshiped since around 10,000 BC. Bast, also known as Baset or Babastis, is an African deity that can take a male or female form (via Marvel). As the source of the magic that imbues the Black Panther with their powers, Bast is revered in Wakanda, although the cameo raises questions about the character's future in the MCU.

In the comics, the late King T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) takes the opportunity to stand before Bast, though she is deemed too immature to become the next Black Panther (via Marvel Database). However, Shuri does eventually take up the mantle and become queen of Wakanda, a journey that could be utilized for the upcoming film adaptation (via Us Weekly). Whether or not "Wakanda Forever" makes use of that particular storyline — or at least adapts some of its elements — it makes sense that the panther goddess would play some kind of role in the narrative.

Bast's existence in Omnipotent City could also hint at what's to come in Phase Four. The goddess also has ties to Victor von Doom (who eventually becomes super villain Doctor Doom) and Reed Richards (John Krasinski), whose appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" could be teasing a classic Marvel Comics storyline called "Secret Wars." Bast is also the half-sibling to the god Khonshu from "Moon Knight," a connection that provides an opportunity for Marvel to really flesh out the minor characters it's introduced over the years (via Marvel Database).

Whatever it means for the big picture, Bast's appearance is a fun detail to look out for whenever you catch "Thor: Love and Thunder."