Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther earlier this year was a memorable one. Marvel fans have put his performance on par with Josh Brolin’s motion capture performance of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Critics and general audiences have praised his performance so much that he actually took home an award for Best Villain at the recent MTV Movie & TV Awards. He even beat out Brolin, who was also nominated for his portrayal as the Mad Titan.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Jordan wasn’t aware of any plans to bring his character back to the MCU. He was willing to jump back into the role.
“I mean, I’m a fan of Marvel, of comic books, everybody knows that, so if there was ever an opportunity to come back and join this universe and work with Joe Russo or Kevin Feige and Victoria [Alonso] and everyone over there at Marvel, reteam with Ryan [Coogler] you know, of course I would.”
During his acceptance speech at the ceremony, he even spoke about the fans’ positive reaction to the character.
“It took a lot to get into this character, so I’m just glad that you guys enjoyed the role as much as I enjoyed playing Killmonger.”
And Michael B. Jordan reprising the role of Kilmonger would delight many of those fans.
Bringing Back the Dead
Only one problem. At the end of Black Panther, he was killed in battle with T’Challa.
However, there is a possibility Jordan could return to his role. Metro UK reported that Marvel Studios had “yet to decide if Michael B. Jordan [would] return in some capacity.” Black Panther pulled $1.3 billion in worldwide box office numbers. That’s to compliment the almost $700 million it pulled domestically. It’s the second highest grossing film in 2018, being slightly behind Avengers: Infinity War and the ninth highest grossing film of all time.
The strength of Michael B. Jordan’s performance in the role of Erik Kilmonger is what kept some audiences going back to theaters. So, of course Marvel would like to see such a polarizing individual return to the screen. But how would they do it?
The Timeline Change
One of the more popular theories (and one I acquiesce to), concerns the events of the upcoming Avengers 4 film. And much of that hinges on speculation about that film as well.
We’ve talked some about the upcoming Avengers film being set amidst a Chitauri infested New York, an almost mimic of the epic battle in the first Avengers movie. The only difference now being Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man being on set, as well as some strange devices being found on everyone’s hands.
Perhaps through their actions in the past, we can get a reset to the world that retcons much of what happened after Avengers. The Chitauri invasion set off a number of events across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the television and Netflix shows. And from that we have the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron which brought about the Sokovia Accords in Captain America: Civil War.
But without all that lead up, how will that affect T’Chaka’s appearance at the signing of the Sokovia Accords? Killmonger’s plan was enacted because T’Chaka was killed in a bomb blast during that signing. He also knew of the ritual that allowed anyone to challenge the up-and-coming prince for the throne. So, he acted quickly and seemingly got his revenge. Then T’Challa came back and killed him. So, if Sokovia never happens, and the Accords are never drafted, does T’Chaka die? And by implication, does Killmonger die? We might get new stories if the timeline is retconned in this fashion.
The Heart Shaped Herb
The powers of the panther require one to be buried, and for a certain time, to die. During their “death” they walked in a realm between life and the hereafter, speaking with the spirits of those who have passed away before.
Killmonger was stabbed through the heart at the end of one of the more climactic battles of Black Panther. He asked to be buried in the sea, joining his ancestors who chose death over a lifetime of bondage. In the film, Killmonger also “kills” T’Challa during an earlier ritual combat scene. He tosses him off the waterfall and claims the throne.
So technically, Killmonger would just being going through a bit of what T’Challa went through when he threw him off the waterfall, right? If Killmonger has the same resilience, wouldn’t he be able to revive with the powers of the Heart Shaped Herb? He already drank the herb in liquefied form, so he has the powers of the Black Panther. I’m sure better writers can find a way to make that work, but it’s a possibility.
Also, in this way we don’t get to throw away a history of Marvel Cinematic Films through retconning and timeline shifts.
I have to give credit to the writing teams over at Marvel, for making the character of Erik Kilmonger so polarizing that audiences responded positively to the villain. In some cases, they responded more so to the villain than the main character of the film.
And I’ll have to admit, many of my theories in the past were completely off. The writers could cook up some method of reviving Killmonger that I, or the rest of the fan base, haven’t thought of. And, they’ll do it in a way that fits the overall narrative better than I ever could, if they chose to do so.
But what are your thoughts on it? How do you think the MCU could bring Kilmonger back? Or should they? Sound off in the comments below, or hit us up on social media!
Black Panther is currently available on home media. Avengers 4 will be out in theaters on May 3 of 2019.