Amid Black Panther 2 Rumors, Michael B. Jordan Shares Thoughts On Whether Killmonger Is A Villain

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in Black Panther
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has occupied the big screen for decades, with over 20 movies arriving over the course of its life so far. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther instantly became a fan favorite, making a ton of money and even being nominated for major Oscar categories. And as rumors swirl about Black Panther 2, Michael B. Jordan shared his thoughts on whether Killmonger is a villain.

While the MCU is a behemoth force in the business, there’s been some criticism for the way the studio approached villains. One glaring exception was Killmonger in Black Panther, who has a deeply emotional reason behind his quest for Wakanda’s throne. Michael B. Jordan played him to pitch perfection, and recently explained his thoughts about the description of “villain.” As he put it,

No, I think he was a necessary part of the conversation. He cared about his people just as much as T'Challa. He just had a different way of going about getting it done. I think he was a historian that studied history, the history of government and oppression. Erik’s a really smart guy, MIT graduate, he’s very intelligent. He saw that there was really only one way to change things, so he went about that. And I don’t think his argument was completely wrong, I don’t think T’Challa’s argument was completely wrong. I think it was a necessary conversation that needed to be had.

Well, there you have it. Part of being an actor is understanding your character’s motivations, and it seems like that certainly happened for Michael B. Jordan throughout the course of Black Panther’s production. He’s just in many ways the antithesis of Chadwick Boseman’s protagonist T’Challa.

Michael B. Jordan’s comments to Bleacher Report help to show how much care was taken for the characters in Black Panther, but specifically the villainous Erik Killmonger. It’s likely for this reason that audiences responded to strongly to Jordan’s MCU character. Unfortunately he chose death over being captured, and is therefore not likely to return to the big screen. Although that hasn't stopped rumors from swirling about the sequel Wakanda Forever.

Black Panther posed some very philosophical questions throughout its runtime, specifically related to the vast technological advancements seen in Wakanda. Erik Killmonger resented the Wakandan people for not using these weapons to empower Black people around the world, and was willing to use that force while ruling the country. 

While Killmonger died in Black Panther’s final battle beneath the city, Michael B. Jordan was still able to reprise his role as the fan-favorite character. Although this wasn’t in live-action, but through a voice role in Disney+’s animated series What If…? The show has been renewed for Season 2, so hopefully we’ll see more of this departed antagonist on the small screen.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever recently took a break from filming, and is currently expected to arrive exclusively in theaters November 11th, 2022. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. 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. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.