Michael B. Jordan hopes that his turn as Killmonger in Black Panther will make up for his previous flirtation with the superhero genre - Fantastic Four. Jordan played Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch in Josh Trank's ill-fated body-horror reboot of Marvel's First Family, and while the actor came out of the disaster - the film bombed at the box office and earned a scathing 9% on Rotten Tomatoes - as one of the few points of praise, it still served as a harsh lesson.
But, less than three years later, Jordan's back, this time at the Marvel Studios side of the House of Ideas' movie output. He appears in next month's Black Panther as Erik Killmonger, the film's primary antagonist who serves as something of a dark mirror for the titular King of Wakanda: he too wants to rule and even has his own, gold cat-like suit. Considering how he's worked on both of director Ryan Coogler's previous films - Fruitvale Station and Creed - he was an obvious fit for the movie, despite the scars of the prior outing.
When Screen Rant visited the set of Black Panther, Jordan talked about the impact of Fantastic Four on his career and addressed how it didn't ultimately impact his decision to sign up for the MCU outing.
You said you were brought in later in the game on this than usual. Can you talk about what those initial discussions were and was there any hesitation at all to do another comic book movie?
Michael B. Jordan: Zero hesitation to do another comic book movie. I guess I got brought in later in the game because that was the natural process – we and Ryan still talked everyday, and I still, still kind of in an unofficial capacity, had always been part of it. No hesitation, really, to do another comic book film. I’m a geek, I love this world, I love being able to play in that fantastic kind of space. I looked at it as another shot to get it right, to do it again, and especially teaming up with [Director of Photography] Rachel [Morrison] again and Ryan, it’s a very comfortable space with me. It’s the perfect space for me to take another risk like this, so it was no hesitation on my part.
Jordan was one of the first actors officially attached to Black Panther (he was second only to Chadwick Boseman, who had been cast as T'Challa since later 2014 due to his earlier debut in Captain America: Civil War), evidently due to his close professional relationship with several members of the crew. This connection evidently overrode any skepticism over doing another superhero movie, not that it sounds like Fantastic Four phased him, and rightly so.
Beyond a chance to make up for the mistake, the problems that dogged that movie - its extensive reshoots and reworking late in production - weren't really emblematic of the genre but more a project gone off the rails. Indeed, the biggest thing the genre offered was a set of fans who would be let down by a shoddy product, something the self-professed geek would be more than conscious of. Due to the experienced producers at Marvel and undeniable talent of his director and surrounding cast, that's unlikely to happen again this time.
Keep it with Screen Rant for more from our Black Panther set visit, including more thoughts from Jordan on Killmonger as well as interviews with the rest of the cast.
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