Michael B. Jordan Explains Why People Really Latched Onto Killmonger As A Villain In Black Panther

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an ever-expanding place, but a few properties have managed to stand out as fan favorites. Chief among them is Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, with the sequel Wakanda Forever currently in active development. Michael B. Jordan had an acclaimed performance as Killmonger, and recently explained why people really latched onto the villain in Black Panther.

While the MCU has taken some criticism for its handling of villains, Killmonger in Black Panther was definitely an exception. Fans connected with the antagonist, with his motivations coming from a deeply hurt place. Now Michael B. Jordan himself has opened up about why fans had this reaction to his signature Marvel antagonist, saying:

We just wanted to be honest and do the work. One thing with Ryan [Coogler], he’s not really in this for the fame of anything or the praise. You know, he wants to tell real stories and ground, make it as real as possible. So, the fact that Killmonger was the other side of the conversation, T’Challa and Killmonger, they cared about their people so much, they were willing to do anything to protect them. They just had two different points of views on it. I think it was a strong conversation, dialogue we hadn’t really seen on camera that way. I think a lot of people felt how Killmonger felt at times and a lot of people have felt like T’Challa felt at times. Having that conversation the way we did I think was innovative, fresh and people really latched onto it.

There you have it. It seems that Killmonger as a character was handled with great care by the folks who made Black Panther into a reality. Ryan Coogler obviously cared about his villain as much as the protagonist T’Challa. And as a result, Michael B. Jordan goes down as one of the best MCU villains thus far.

Michael B. Jordan’s comments come from his recent appearance on the podcast Jemele Hill is Unbothered. Eventually the conversation turned to the actor’s time in the MCU, with Jordan reprising his role as Killmonger in the upcoming animated seriesWhat If…? That’s when the actor-director revealed just how much work went into his Wakandan villain.

Marvel fans can re-watch Michael B. Jordan’s performance on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Later in that same interview, Michael B. Jordan went on to explain how lucky he felt playing Killmonger in Black Panther. While he was unfortunately killed off in the third act, Jordan praised how his character was approached. In the actor’s words,

Whenever you have to be a little bit confused if you really like or hate the villain or the antagonist in projects, I think you have an interesting antagonist. So I was really lucky in that way.

As previously mentioned, there has been some criticism thrown at Marvel Studios for its handling of villains over the years. But characters like Loki and Killmonger show how successful it is when the antagonists are truly fleshed out. We’ll just have to wait and see what type of bad guys pop up throughout Phase Four.

Black Widow is in theaters now, and the next installment in the MCU is Shang-Chi on September 3rd. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.