How Can Marvel Studios Bring Killmonger Back?
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the television side brings characters back to life more often than the movies. Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Elektra (Elodie Yung) are the biggest cases of the TV universe resurrecting characters that had been killed off. In the case of Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D. used Kree technology to resurrect him, while the Hand used a magical property obtained from dragon bones to brink Elektra back to life. Since these methods have only been seen on the TV side of the MCU - and Marvel Studios is notoriously separate from Marvel TV - they seem unlikely candidates for how Killmonger could be brought back.
That aside, there are two means in the MCU films by which Marvel Studios could resurrect Killmonger. The first is Wakanda's technology. We see in Black Panther that Shuri (Letitia Wright) has developed healing technology capable of bringing Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) back from near-death. Additionally, he had been shot in the spine protecting Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), but is able to walk again thanks to Wakanda's tech. Given this, it seems likely Wakandan technology would be able to heal Killmonger if he hadn't actually died. So, if we presume the ambiguity of Killmonger's final scene means he didn't completely die, then theoretically Shuri could heal him and bring him back.
The second means of how Marvel could bring Killmonger back resides in what we know of Avengers 4. Based on set photos, we know Avengers 4 will deal with time travel or time manipulation of some kind. Scenes have been filmed with core characters in their costumes from The Avengers, indicating Thanos (Josh Brolin) or the heroes will be messing with the timeline, likely by way of the Time Stone. If the Avengers alter the timeline in any way, it could have serious repercussions throughout time and space - and is an easy way to resurrect characters killed in previous films, like Killmonger. But, although Marvel Studios undoubtedly has many ways to bring Killmonger back, the question, really, is whether they should.
Should Marvel Bring Killmonger Back for Black Panther 2?
While Marvel has the means to bring Killmonger back from the dead, it would undermine the emotional poignancy of the character's death at the end of Black Panther. His death is a statement about the way African Americans are treated around the world, and how that treatment inspires anger and fear in those like Killmonger. Though there's no question he is a villain within the story of Black Panther, his views about Wakanda ceasing to hide from the world and using the country's resources to help other communities are actually shared by Nakia - but, of course, Nakia doesn't agree with the violent tactics for which Killmonger advocates.
Still, since T'Challa does choose to open Wakanda's doors at the end of Black Panther and setup Wakandan centers around the world - particularly in Oakland where Killmonger grew up - it shows the king learned something from his cousin. To bring Killmonger back wouldn't necessarily negate that character arc, but it would certainly undercut it in a way that would make it somewhat less significance.
So, while Marvel could find a way to bring Killmonger back for another film, they shouldn't. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler took a great deal of care in crafting Killmonger's story, which differs from the Marvel comics. However, the MCU version of Killmonger's story comes to a conclusion at the end of Black Panther with the character's death. Certainly, fans who became attached to the character of Erik Killmonger will be sad to see him go, even if only because he proves to be a fantastic antagonist to T'Challa. However, though the MCU is a comic book universe, and there's always a chance a character can come back to life, the compelling emotional moment of Killmonger's death and what it represents to his own character as well as T'Challa's should be left as it is. Marvel should not resurrect Killmonger or bring him back for Black Panther 2 when the sequel releases.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019