Michael B. Jordan is an imposing and fearsome physical presence as the villainous Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. For the actor behind one of Marvel's best villains, having to get into great shape for the role was nothing new. Michael B. Jordan also had to be in convincing physical shape for 2015's Creed, to play the boxer and son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson. But training for these two roles was hardly the same, as the physical and aesthetic goals for each were actually quite different, as Michael B. Jordan explained:
With Creed, I had to transform into a believable boxer, so my workouts and diet were super strict. For Killmonger, I just wanted to look like a weapon. More muscle, less cut. So I just put on a ton of muscle for that. Killmonger also is really skilled in martial arts and weapon training, so I did a lot of that, as well. I'm back to training for Creed 2, so back to strict diets and fight training.
There are very different kinds of being in shape and as Michael B. Jordan explained to Digital Trends, each requires a different approach to training. For one role the actor had to be a believable boxer whereas for the other he needed to be more of a hulking brute. To look the part of a real world boxer for Creed, Michael B. Jordan had to have muscle, of course, but it needed to be lean and allow him to move. If you look at most fighters, the Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder's of the world notwithstanding, they don't look like bodybuilders. They are muscular but lean. This requires a strict diet and more cardio to cut away the fat around the muscle. There is also the fact that most fighters cut weight and dehydrate in order to weigh in for a fight. Thus a softer look or the amount of muscle Erik Killmonger was walking around with would not lend itself to the legitimacy of Creed.
For Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan was going for something different and it shows in the movie in the attempt to look huge and muscle-bound. Erik Killmonger dwarves Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa and very much comes off like the weapon Michael B. Jordan wanted. To achieve this requires a different kind of training. If you're shooting for maximum hypertrophy (big muscles), your diet can be less strict and you can just pack on tons of muscle. Too much cutting or too strict a diet would detract from the maximum muscle look. Since Killmonger is using martial arts and weapons skills but is not a professional fighter, this look makes sense for his character and allows him to be as physically daunting as possible.
Now that he is finished with Black Panther, the actor has headed back to the less fun training regimen for Creed 2. He's going to need to be in tip-top condition to face the son of Ivan Drago, after all. Creed 2 is in theaters on November 21st and you can see Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger this weekend when Black Panther hits theaters. For all the latest on how to look like an action figure, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.