Michael B. Jordan Loves Killmonger Comparisons To Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in Black Panther

Michael B. Jordan has become a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, and among the movies that have boosted his profile is Black Panther, where he played battle-scarred Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens, the main villain. Killmonger was quickly labeled one of the best antagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but thanks to a tactical vest he wore for a spell in the movie, Jordan’s character was also compared to Vegeta, one of the main characters of the Dragon Ball Z franchise.

As a huge fan of anime (especially Naruto), Michael B. Jordan welcomes Killmonger being compared to Vegeta. When the subject was brought up in his interview with Highsnobiety, the actor said:

I can’t remember if me and Ryan [Coogler, director of Black Panther] talked about it. I’m not sure if that was intentional. I thought it was dope — even a happy coincidence. I thought it was fly that people saw that and actually turned it into [memes].

In case you’re having trouble imagining the similarities between Killmonger and Vegeta, here’s a side-by-side of the two characters that was posted right after Black Panther came out:

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The combination of the tactical vest and blue shirt definitely matches nicely with the Saiyan outfit that Vegetal frequently wore throughout Dragon Ball Z. That said, as Michael B. Jordan noted, he’s not sure if this Killmonger look was deliberately designed to call Vegetal to mind. It’s certainly plausible the Black Panther costume designers could have done this intentionally if they knew Jordan enjoyed Dragon Ball Z, but maybe it is just coincidental.

Either way, considering the chances of a live action Dragon Ball Z movie ever being made look slim at this point, just getting a costume that vaguely resembles what Vegeta wore in the anime is cool. It should be noted, though, that while Killmonger spent all of Black Panther as a villain (albeit one with understandable intentions), Vegeta transitioned from that to antihero to full-blown hero as Dragon Ball Z progressed, though he’d continue to be a rival to the main protagonist, Goku.

Killmonger was stabbed by T’Challa during their climactic battle in Wakanda at the end of Black Panther. Rather than agree to medical treatment, Killmonger opted to die rather than be imprisoned, and he spent his last moments looking at the sunset over the African nation. You’d logically think that his MCU story was finished then, right?

As things stand currently, yes, that is the case. However, rumors have surfaced claiming that Michael B. Jordan will appear in Black Panther 2, presumably through the spirit plane where all of Wakanda’s past rulers preside after they’ve died. It’d be an interesting way for Killmonger to participate in the sequel without retconning his powerful death in the first movie.

But Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige debunked these rumors a few months back, as director/writer Ryan Coogler had only just started working on the Black Panther 2 script. It’s still possible that Killmonger could be involved in the story, but for right now, there’s nothing suggesting that’s a real option.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates concerning Black Panther 2, and you can find out what else the MCU has coming to the big screen with our handy guide. As for Michael B. Jordan, he can next be seen in Just Mercy, which comes to theaters on December 25.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.