The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a mixed history when it comes to supervillains. While it’s given us amazing antagonists like Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and, uh, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, many of the MCU’s bad guys have fallen short. For the next installment of the franchise though, Black Panther, actor Michael B. Jordan is working hard to ensure his villain rises above the rest.
Jordan, who’s set to play King T’Challa’s nemesis Erik Killmonger in the upcoming movie, spoke to Empire about which other supervillain performances influenced his work here. It turns out he was inspired by two of the best ever that we’ve seen in the genre: Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, from the X-Men franchise.
“You see performances as an actor, and as a fan – you look at Heath Ledger’s performance, say, in The Dark Knight, and it’s like, “Wow”. I want to try to get something like that. You want Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. Just trying to find my place amongst those roles, and strive for that, even if I don’t make it”.
From Jordan’s influences, we might be able to infer what type of character Killmonger will be. Ledger’s Joker was an agent of chaos, who was fixated on running rings around his rival. Magneto, on the other hand, is a tragic villain, as he’s been warped into a monster by the horrors he’s had to survive in his past. Maybe a mix of these characters is where Killmonger is being positioned. Whether he’ll be as compelling as those two, though, is a different matter entirely.
Everything we’ve seen of Black Panther up to this point, however, suggests the movie will be another hit for Marvel. The trailers have promised a fresh superhero origins story involving one of the coolest MCU heroes yet, and we can only hope that Killmonger will prove to be a worthy opponent for him.