Few MCU villains hold a candle to Erik Killmonger – and fewer still have captured our attention quite like Michael B. Jordan’s Wakandan outlaw.
His was a tragic character. Raised in America, and far from the riches of Wakanda, Killmonger grew increasingly angry in his isolation, so it’s small wonder that he vowed to overthrow T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and rule Wakanda himself. So began the epic tale of Marvel’s Black Panther, which has since been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar – a historical feat in and of itself.
During a candid chat with Oprah Winfrey, though, Michael B. Jordan spoke openly about the ways in which Killmonger drove him to therapy, as sinking into such a complex, damaged character took a mental toll.
I spent a lot of time alone. I figured Erik, his childhood growing up was pretty lonely. He didn’t have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn’t exist. The pain and rage and all those emotions. I think just being in that kind of mental state … it caught up with me.
Subscribing to the belief that everyone – men included – must “unpack and talk,” Jordan listed the benefits of attending therapy soon after Black Panther wrapped, though it was the film’s political undertones that really hit home.
Of course, it’s an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African-American perspective, so to be able to take that kind of pain and rage and all those emotions that Erik kind of represents from being black and brown here in America … that was something I didn’t take lightly.
Marvel’s Black Panther is currently screening across select theaters as part of Black History Month, which ought to help boost momentum ahead of the all-important Oscar ceremony on Sunday, February 24th.