Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett has joined the cast of Marvel Studios' Black Panther. Bassett, who currently stars in American Horror Story, will play Ramonda, mother of T'Challa, aka Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman in the title role alongside Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, and Florence Kasumba. The film arrives in theaters on February 16, 2018.
Marvel's announcement doesn't reveal any official story details yet, but with production starting in early 2017, hopefully we'll get new details soon. In the comic books, shortly after the death of her husband, and T'challa's father T'chaka, it was believed that Ramonda left Wakanda with another man, but it was later revealed that she was abducted and sexually abused by a white supremacist named Anton Pretorius for several years. It hasn't been confirmed whether or not this story line will be followed in the movie or not.
We also reported last month that newcomer Letitia Wright, who stars in the upcoming Ready Player One, will portray Serita in this Marvel Phase 3 adventure. Back in May, a casting report revealed that there are a number of characters from the Marvel Comics who have yet to be cast in Black Panther, such as Monica Lynne, T'challa's longtime love interest, who T'challa pledged his life to after she saved him from drowning. Other characters who will reportedly be featured in the movie include Queen Divine Justice, a former Dora Miljae who is part of the Jabari tribe, N'Gassi, T'calla's adviser and acting regent when he's away from Wakanda and White Wolf, T'challa's adopted older brother and former leader of Wakanda's spy organization, Hatut Zeraze.
Earlier this month, another casting report surfaced that revealed the studio is seeking actors for CIA agent roles, along with actors of Korean and Filipino descent to play extras in a street market scene. The studio is also seeking African men and women between the ages of 18 and 90 to "populate the African nation of Wakanda" in this movie. Ryan Coogler is directing Black Panther from a script he co-wrote with Joe Robert Cole, with Marvel setting a February 16, 2018 release date.
Angela Bassett is no stranger to superhero movies, having played Amanda Waller in Warner Bros.' 2011 feature Green Lantern. She most recently starred in the big-screen sequel London Has Fallen, and on the small screen in FX's American Horror Story: Roanoke. She also voices Ana Spanikopita on the hit Netflix animated series Bojack Horseman. As we get closer to production starting on Black Panther, hopefully we'll get more casting and story updates very soon.