This past weekend, Marvel Studios brought thunder and lightning to their presentation at San Diego Comic-Con. Marvel is riding a nearly decade-long wave of success, resulting in a lineup of films that has continued to expand their world in some creative and fun ways. Now that their cinematic universe is firmly established, the company is set to tell more stories from different corners of the MCU that have yet to be explored.
One of the new faces of Marvel coming to theaters is Black Panther in early 2018. Fans already got their introduction to character of T'Challa and lead actor Chadwick Boseman, during his triumphant debut in this summer's Captain America: Civil War. However, that clearly is not the last that we will see of him and his world. At SDCC 2016, Marvel formally announced the principle cast of the upcoming solo film, including Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), and the reveal that Michael B. Jordan has officially joined the cast, as the villainous Erik Killmonger.
In the comics, Killmonger is a long-time adversary and political rival to Black Panther, so it's safe to assume he will fill a similar function in the big-screen adaptation. While there are no official story details and only rumors of the film's plot, MTV's Josh Horowitz recently caught up with Jordan who explained why he took on a bad guy role in the movie.
"My only hesitation was playing a villain...It was always something that I've wanted to do. To play something completely different than any other character that I've ever played before. And under the right circumstances, this being it, you know. I feel safe. I feel safe to take those risks. Take those chances. That's what I'm about to do."
Jordan has had an interesting few years. He first grabbed casting directors attention with his work in the classic crime drama, The Wire, before taking on an impressive variety of roles, including as a class president in Chronicle, voicing Cyborg in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and as the hot-head Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot. So Jordan clearly has experience as the leading man.
His upcoming role as Killmonger will stretch an entirely different set of acting muscles that he hasn't attempted on screen yet. However, there is an ace in Jordan's back pocket. Both of Jordan's most critically acclaimed roles came with his leading performances in Fruitvale Station and Creed, both films were written and directed by Ryan Coogler. Reuniting with Coogler is certainly the "right circumstance," that has given Jordan the creative freedom and confidence to explore his villainous side.
In addition, Coogler has proven adept at creating nuanced and three-dimensional characters. So it can be expected that the role of Killmonger will be far more complex than a stereotypical, mustache-twirling villain. If he is able to unlock this new side of himself and expand his acting range, all film fans will ultimately benefit. Unfortunately, there is almost two years until the movie is complete, so stay tuned for the latest developments from Black Panther.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming following July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet-untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.