Marvel’s Black Panther hits theaters this week and we couldn’t be more excited.  To finally see these characters on the big screen is something I have been waiting for, but who are these characters.  In a post, I discuss who the Dora Milaje are and last year I did one on T’Challa, now it’s Killmonger’s turn.  Let’s dive in!

Known as Erik Killmonger to most, Killmonger was born N’Jadaka.  He is a native of Wakanda but when Ulysses Klaw invaded Wakanda N’Jadaka’s father was pressured into working for him.  Klaw was defeated but in the aftermath, N’Jadaka’s father died.  After Klaw fled Wakanda N’Jadaka’s family was exiled by T’Challa, the king of Wakanda at that time.

Later, he legally changed his name to Erik Killmonger and ended up in Harlem, New York, where his hatred of both T’Challa and Klaw developed.  He also blamed T’Chaka (T’Challa father) for his weakness and believes that was a key factor in allowing his parents to be killed.  After changing his name, Killmonger attends M.I.T where he received a Ph.D. in Engineering and an MBA.

Now, this is all from the Black Panther comics and it is unsure how much of this story will be used in the upcoming film.  From the trailer, it looks like Killmonger and Klaw will work together for a bit but since I have not seen the movie yet, I can’t be 100% sure and I would rather not speculate.

Killmonger eventually returns to Wakanda to exact revenge on T’Challa, he ravaged several villages to attract T’Challa’s attention.  When T’Challa confronted him, Killmonger ordered his pet leopard Preyy to battle the king.  T’Challa snaps Preyy’s jaw and then is attack by Killmonger where he falls down a waterfall.  During, there fight T’Challa defeats Killmonger and believes he is dead but of course, he returns.

In the film, we see Killmonger don his own version of the Black Panther suit, the Golden Jaguar suit.  This could be homage to his pet, even though it was a leopard.  However, it could also be homage to when Killmonger became the Black Panther and king of Wakanda for a brief period of time in the comics.  He was even a member of the Avengers during that time.  His body rejected the heart-shaped herb because he was not of the royal family and so T’Challa returns as the king.  There’s more to Killmonger’s story and many different variations of his battles with the Black Panther, but let us end this here.  Check out the Black Panther comics if you wish to know more.

Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.  But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king-and Black Panther-is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.  Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.

Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa aka Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, who will play Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Forest Whitaker as elder statesman Zuri, Daniel Kaluuya as T’Challa’s confidant W’Kabi, Florence Kasumba reprising her role as Ayo, Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw, Winston Duke as M’Baku, aka Man-Ape, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu, and Angela Bassett as Ramonda, mother of T’Challa.

Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.


Chris McCall

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