Is Black Panther's Erik Killmonger Really A Villain?

Disclaimer: This article contains major movie spoilers about Marvel’s Black Panther.



Wow. Can we all just take moment to commend Michael B. Jordan for his outstanding performance as Erik Killmonger in the amazing film Black Panther. And to the ladies reading, a moment of appreciation for all of his shirtless scenes! Michael B. Jordan’s character, Erik Killmonger, was the son of Prince N’Jobu. T’Chaka, father of T’Challa and King of Wakanda at the time, murdered his brother N’Jobu and abandoned Erik in Oakland, California. Killmonger goes on to survive his dreadful childhood experiences and grows up to work as a special ops soldier. His survival not only created vengeance in his heart to punish Wakanda for the murder of his father, but also to fight back against the world’s oppressors. Killmonger’s plan is simple, take the throne from his cousin T’Challa and use vibranium, the hidden resource that has made Wakanda the most technically advanced country in the world, to provide weapons and technology to black leaders around the world to stop oppressors. He wants Black Elitism. Let’s be real is Erik Killmonger really a villain? Because that plan doesn’t sound very evil to me. Yes, his motive is revenge and, from the amount of self inflicted marks he has on his body that represent a life he has taken, he has killed A LOT of people.


But realistically Killmonger appears to be the product of pain and not evil. Killmonger feels abandoned, which epitomizes the relationship black people in America and Africans have today. Some black people in America feel they cannot relate or connect to African people, while some African people feel that black people are ignorant to their true beings. Just as black people in America might feel rejected and abandoned by Africans and their ancestral heritage, Killmonger feels the same way about Wakandans. Killmonger is angry at white oppressors but at Wakanda as well for excluding him from the right to experience Wakandan culture and African royalty and for having the weapons, technology, and means to stop oppressors but deciding to stand by and watch. And quite frankly, I agree with Erik Killmonger's anger, but i also understand why Wakanda would want to hide their resources from a world where Europeans have stolen African people, culture, resources, and put some countries back to a point of no return. But as Wakanda hides their advancements to protect their own, they simultaneously allow black people around the world to suffer. Killmonger came to collect what he believes is owed to him and give black people now what they could have had years ago to achieve global black revolution. Erik Killmonger was a revolutionary.


His plan was eventually stopped by T’Challa, fellow Wakandan tribes, and...

THE WOMEN OF WAKANDA, let’s give them their props! Wakanda's warriors were women, the General and strongest warrior was Okeye, who was willing to kill her love for her country. T'Challa's little sister, Shuri, was a science and technological prodigy who equipped Wakanda with an advanced way of living and The Black Panther himself with an undefeatable suit. The queen of Wakanda, Romanda, showed tremendous strength through her husband's death and what she thought was her son T'Challa's death. And lastly, Nakia, who was an independent, self determined, strong willed, and selfless women first and the lover of T'Challa second. No women in the film relied on any man, were all gorgeous, smart, strong, and could easily beat any man or woman in a fight. BLACK GIRL MAGIC!! Just had to throw that in there. 

Back to Erik Killmonger, he dies a lonely and disappointing death making the request to, “Burry me in the ocean, with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage,” a sad but amazing quote. Both the people of Wakanda and Eric Killmonger fought for two important causes: protect advancements from a world of colonization or share the advancements with oppressed people around the world. They also represent the relationship between misunderstood black Americans and the falsely generalized Africans. Every Marvel movie needs a villain, but in Black Panther the villain is more understood and his unfulfilled plan for black revolution inspired T'Challa to begin sharing Wakanda's advancements.  

About The Author

What's up! I'm Faith Ruffin, a sophmore from Baltimore, Maryland studying Political Science at Clark Atlanta Univeristy. I'm as passionate of a person as I am a writer. And I am an aspiring lawyer, so I love a good debate!