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Queen Ramonda Was Wrong to ‘Banish’ Okoye in Wakanda Forever

One of the most shocking moments in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was when, in a fit of rage and grief, Queen Ramonda stripped Okoye of her place in the Dora Milaje. Okoye deserved better from the woman she called “Mother,” but that was the point.

Due to both story decisions and real-life circumstances, Okoye is perhaps the representative of Wakanda that the Marvel Cinematic Universe sees more than even Black Panther. She’s a fierce defender of her home and respectful of its laws and traditions. On the mission where Okoye “lost” Shuri, the Princess was the one who requested to go to Talokan. Shouting down Okoye, Ramonda was not the Queen Mother of Wakanda but a mother who’d borne more grief than any parent should bear. She’d had to mourn her children. Twice. She lashes out, bringing up Okoye waiting until the last moment to turn the Dora Milaje on Killmonger. The storytellers wanted Ramonda to be wrong here, and they wanted Okoye to carry this undue guilt for at least the near future.

Part of the reason, narratively, that Ramonda “banishes” Okoye is to set up her climactic moment. She risks her life to save a troublesome girl who isn’t even Wakandan. Even after all the loss she suffered, her instinct was to do the right thing and be a hero. Ramonda’s focus was on her family. Okoye sacrificed her marriage in the fight with Killmonger. Her husband, W’Kabi, isn’t in the movie, in part because he’s no longer part of Okoye’s story. However, the guilt the storytellers burdened her with regarding Queen Ramonda is what will differentiate her from a similar MCU character: Thunderbolt Ross.

Of all the MCU characters, Okoye is perhaps the most like Steve Rogers’ Captain America. She is a soldier. She takes orders. Unlike Captain America, however, she didn’t abandon her oath to help Queen Ramonda, who was like a mother to her. Thunderbolt Ross is also a military mind first, and even if he doesn’t like his position in a fight, he does his duty. Or, at least, what he believes is his duty. During The Blip, he and Okoye probably both fiercely protected their home country’s interests. Given how Ramonda withdrew at the loss of T’Challa, it’s likely Okoye was the face of Wakanda during The Blip. If Okoye faces Thunderbolt Ross or someone like him, her priorities will be shaped by how things ended with her and her Queen.

Okoye deserved better as the most loyal servant to Wakandan royalty. However, given that she didn’t get to make peace with Ramonda, that guilt will fuel her going forward. Like Spider-Man tries to honor Aunt May, Okoye will remember those harsh words from Ramonda if her duty ever again conflicts with what’s “right.”

[Source CBR]



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