With recent images from Thor: Love and Thunder teasing Bast’s humanoid introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s probably time to remember who this mysterious goddess is and where you’ve seen her before. Especially because she’s likely to weigh in on how to tackle, if not outright fight, the main villain, Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale in the upcoming film.
As readers and moviegoers know, comic book writers are no strangers to including supernatural, mythological, and religious elements in their stories. In the MCU, most people probably think of Asgard (Norse), Moon Knight (Egyptian), and even Doctor Strange (Hinduism). the Eternals also represented some of history, such as Mesopotamian, Greek and Inca stories. But the mythology of the Wakandan people is often overlooked in these discussions. This is where Bast comes in.
Bastet aka Bast
The mythology of Wakanda, the mythical place that it is, is a mixture of different African religious iconographies and names (mostly) from antiquity. This includes using elements from ancient Egyptian mythology (called Ennead in the comics) like Bast and his family. Many stories show Khonshu (introduced in Moon Knight) and Bast as cousins or adjacent cousins. Mainly represented by a cat, Bast is often cited as a moon goddess who watched over pregnant women and young rulers. Sometimes she guides souls into the underworld. It is important to note that religion and myth are not stagnant concepts, so the tradition has some flexibility, depending on the period and the ruler in power.
Bast is either depicted as a person, a big cat, or transitioning between forms in the comics. She chooses each Black Panther as an avatar or champion. In the MCU, T’Challa and others in Wakanda recognize Bast as a goddess who gave the first Black Panther, Bashenga, a guide (including using the herb to gain powers) to become king. and end the war between the five. tribes of Wakanda. T’Chaka (John Kani) and later T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) use this herb when ruling the kingdom and meeting their family on the Ancestral Plane.
In Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa tells Black Widow that in her culture, “death is not the end. It’s more of a starting point. You reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into a verdant veld where… you can run forever. The “green veld” where souls go refers to the astral plane (from Doctor Strange, etc.). However, there is no apparent difference between the Astral Plane and the Ancestral Plane in the MCU other than name and color. So maybe these are the same places. The Asgardians and Eternals have not entered these planes to our knowledge, as they are aliens within the MCU.
Bast appears in the MCU
Because Bast has not been officially introduced as a person, there are questions about Bast’s legitimate appearances in the comics. However, the only place his name has continued to weigh is, of course, Black Panther. In the intro sequence, when the narrator shares the founding of Wakanda, the animal form of Bast made up of grains of vibranium is seen dominating Bashenga. I don’t count that moment as seeing her because it was basically a moving sculpture, but that doesn’t diminish how canonized she is in the MCU now.
Even without being seen, others refer to Bast in the MCU. Of course, the most memorable is with the presence of Wakandans, as in Captain America: Civil War and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (episode 4). However, others invoke his name and image. While he was probably there for another reason, some noticed a traditional statue of Bast in the Enterals‘ Domo (ship.) Recently, Moon Knight highlighted several members of Bast’s family and mentioned her by name.
In addition to this possible image of her (Akosia Sabet) in Thor: Love and ThunderI wouldn’t be surprised if she made an appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. That is, if she doesn’t end up falling victim to the butcher god.
(featured image: Marvel Comics)
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