Michael B. Jordan blew away audiences with his ferocious and nuanced portrayal of Erik "Killmonger" Stevens in 2018's Black Panther, with the character quickly skyrocketing into the upper tier of Marvel Cinematic Universe villains.
Killmonger famously died at the conclusion of that film after uttering one of the most badass lines in film history:
But that hasn't stopped fans from wondering if he might make a return. After all, in the MCU as in the pages of Marvel comics, a character's death does not necessarily mean the end.
Black Panther earned more than a billion dollars at the worldwide box office and became a cultural phenomenon. Writer-director Ryan Coogler, along with stars Letitia Wright, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett, are all on board for the sequel planned for 2022.
Of course, the tragic death of star Chadwick Boseman following a secret, four-year battle with colon cancer has left the franchise without its title star. Boseman's passing has prompted all manner of intense speculation about the future of Black Panther 2, and instantly reignited the debate over whether Jordan's magnetic Killmonger could return to help revitalize the franchise.
It's worth noting that we never actually saw Killmonger expire on screen. He was gravely injured after his final brawl with King T'Challa, who offered to attempt to save his life using Wakanda's ultra-advanced medical technology.
And though Killmonger asked to be buried at sea, T'Challa appears from a distance to possibly apply some sort of emergency treatment to his wound. It could perhaps be a vibranium disc like the one that was earlier used to stabilize T'Challa's CIA ally, Everett Ross.
Even if Killmonger succumbing to his injuries was seemingly imminent, Wakandan tech is a wondrous thing. Its march of progress never ceases, and we know that cryostasis has been perfected, as we've seen it used on Bucky Barnes, or "White Wolf" as he's known in Wakanda. Could Killmonger have been put on ice until such time as medical science could save him?
Killmonger could also return without actually physically returning. Having partaken of the Heart-Shaped Herb to gain the power of the Black Panther in the first movie, it seems possible that his spirit could now reside along with that of T'Challa's father, King T'Chaka, and the other Black Panthers of yore on the ancestral plane. Here, he could offer singularly unique guidance and advice to whichever character takes on the mantle of Black Panther after T'Challa.
Few MCU characters displayed a stronger sense of duty and honor than T'Challa...
...so it seems pretty likely that he would have honored Killmonger's request, and not forced medical intervention upon the man when he clearly didn't want it. If indeed Killmonger returns for Black Panther 2, it's a safe bet that we'll see him on that ancestral plane, offering his insight to the new Black Panther who, if fans have anything to say about it, might very well be T'Challa's incredibly intelligent little sister, Shuri.
If Marvel determines that Killmonger is still miraculously alive, then what if he ends up being the one to become the new Black Panther? At first blush, it may seem like an odd choice, since he was such a vicious and formidable foe, intent on usurping the throne and using Wakandan technology to dominate the world. During his final battle with T'Challa, however, he fought and "died" with honor, and his motivations were never evil so much as they were misguided. And he's already worn the Black Panther garb.
How fascinating would it be to see this complex and righteously angry villain have the mantle of King that he once craved now forced upon him? To see him suddenly made to grapple with his predecessor's towering legacy while being made to cooperate with T'Challa's most trusted advisors on a daily basis? Could he complete a transition, over the course of the film, from complicated villain to reluctant hero?
It's tough to think of an actor more capable than Jordan of pulling it off. Of course, we'll be keeping an eye out for any and all breaking news regarding Black Panther 2, and we'll keep you informed, too. Watch the video to learn if Disney Will Bring Back Killmonger For Black Panther 2!
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