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Ryan Coogler's Black Panther has finally debuted in theaters, and it has handily turned into an unequivocal critical sensation and box office hit. There's a lot of praise to go around for the first-ever T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) solo movie, but one of the most widely-praised elements of Black Panther is Michael B. Jordan's performance as Erik Killmonger. The badass baddie is already being labeled as one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's best villains yet, and it seems that the 31-year-old Creed star snuck into screenings of Black Panther to see how the general public would respond to him. Jordan explained:
Honestly, everybody was laughing, they were yelling at the screen, you know what I'm saying? The gasps, the one-liners, everything was working so it was cool to see it with a normal audience -- not at a premiere, not at a press junket. They were really engaged and interacting with the film, so it was good to see. It is a little relaxing to know people are really liking the performance. [Playing the bad guy] was something I'd never really done before so I was anxious to see how it would play and if it worked... it felt good.
Leading up to the release of Black Panther, we had heard quite a bit about the amount of work that Michael B. Jordan put into his performance as Erik Killmonger. Between putting on an insane amount of muscle for the role as well as drawing inspiration from Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight and Michael Fassbender's Magneto from the X-Men films, it sounds like Jordan arguably understood the pressure of stepping to his first real villainous role. Of course, based on the sheer amount of hooting and hollering that he heard when he snuck into opening night screenings, he can probably rest easy now knowing that fans have responded quite well to his work.
Warning: Black Panther spoilers ahead! Read forward at your own risk!
Despite the positive overall reception to Michael B. Jordan's performance as Erik Killmonger, and the Black Panther star's remarks to ET about relaxing now that the film has come out, we shouldn't get our hopes up about seeing the villain return in a future movie. The character very unmistakably dies in his last Black Panther scene, and the film appears to imply that it's a definitively final moment for him. That said, we shouldn't feel too sorry for his passing, as we still have Thanos (Josh Brolin) and The Black Order to deal with later this year when Avengers: Infinity War debuts.
If you haven't had a chance to see Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger yet, make sure to check out CinemaBlend's full review of Black Panther and see the movie for yourself! As for the rest of this year, T'Challa will rejoin the rest of the Avengers when Avengers: Infinity War premieres in theaters on May 4.