Michael B. Jordan has talked about his character’s role in Black Panther‘s story during an interview where he and the rest of the cast tip-toed around Killmonger’s golden superhero costume. Black Panther was the second-to-last part of the Marvel Studios’ epic SDCC 2017 Hall H panel, bringing with it several reveals and a clip/sizzle reel that earned a standing ovation.
What’s got most people talking from the exclusive footage (you can read our description of it here) is villain Killmonger’s own version of the Black Panther suit. This was revealed at the end of the trailer, when a showdown between T’Challa and Killmonger saw them both whip on their costumes using snazzy nano-tech. The look at Killmonger’s suit was brief, but it looked to be a golden-hued variant of what the King of Wakanda wears, with a full-on jaguar-like head piece.
EW asked Michael B. Jordan and the rest of the cast about this interesting piece of tech, to which they were all immediately coy. Letitia Wright, who had previously talked about her character Shuri’s technological crafting abilities, said “there’s some intelligent brains behind that creation“, before Jordan sidestepped to talk about his relationship to Chadwick Boseman’s hero:
“Me and T’Challa have two totally different approaches to the throne as well and you see those two opposing sides clash. So you can call it a Magneto/Professor X type of chemistry. That’s all I can give away.”
Director Ryan Coogler likewise refused to comment on the gold suit. While that’s all very smart aversion from cast and crew, it actually seems to be rather revealing when you put it all together.
First things first, Jordan’s comments ostensibly play up T’Challa and Killmonger’s ideological divide, promising something more nuanced than straight up villainy; a trait that has made the X-Men movies he mentions as successful as they are. Of course, we have had confirmation that Klaue is the real villain of the film, so there was always an expectation of this relationship being a little complex.
However, the fact that Jordan went down that track after being asked about the costume is intriguing. The suit itself they don’t elaborate on – although Coogler did comment on how the nano-tech in 2018 upgrade – but it seems its importance goes beyond simply looking cool.
Wright had just implied T’Challa’s sister Shuri made the suit he’s using, and if T’Challa and Killmonger do have a relationship similar to best enemies Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr then it’s possible there’s a bigger history between the two. In the comics, Killmonger has vied for the Wakandan throne, but his origin is outside of the royal family group; could this have changed for the movie to have him tied more into T’Challa’s past? The interviewer even acknowledged he couldn’t ask Jordan much about his character’s backstory, implying there’s something more hidden away there.
Of course, this could be a case of over-secrecy leading us to extreme conclusions, but even then at the very least there’s something cool about the Jaguar costume that’s being kept under wraps. We’ll no doubt get more speculation on this topic when an officially released trailer arrives.
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