The creator of Erik Killmonger, Don McGregor, has nothing but good things to say about Black Panther. Marvel's latest film is currently enjoying status as a cultural phenomenon, thanks in large part to it appealing to traditionally unrepresented superhero fans. As a result, the movie keeps hitting new milestones, like yesterday's record-breaking Tuesday for Black Panther which saw it surpass the rest of the MCU for the day.
It's not just the unique look and focus of the film that has audiences pouring into theaters, either. The writing, directing, and acting have all been singled out, with particular praise going towards Michael B. Jordan in helping make Killmonger one of the MCU's best villains. The result will likely see the character return to prominence in the comics after he factored into Black Panther stories in the '70s—a period that the film's revolutionary bent owes a lot to.
Nerdist spoke with Don McGregor, the writer who invented characters like Killmonger and Ramonda during his run on Jungle Action in the '70s. His seminal arc, 'Panther's Rage,' is considered one of the great Black Panther stories and clearly influenced the movie in key ways. And for the creator, he has nothing but positive things to say about the film and cast.
“Michael B. Jordan was great as Killmonger. The thing that actually struck me the most was that I love Chadwick [Boseman] as T’Challa. I always thought that T’Challa should have a quiet dignity. He doesn’t have to raise his voice, he walks in the room and he’s the guy. And if trouble’s gonna happen, you want him there to come in and back your play. To have Angela Bassett playing Ramonda, another character I created, was so beautiful.”
While seeing his characters come to life for the first time was likely exciting, McGregor was also ecstatic to see another memorable moment from his run in Black Panther: “And of all things, I can’t believe T’Challa tackling the rhino made it in!”
It certainly demonstrates the might of the Black Panther to see him take down such a powerful animal, and Marvel and the film's team found an interesting way to incorporate the scene. Other aspects of the film didn't borrow as directly from McGregor's work, but the general arc of Killmonger certainly has its origins in the types of stories the writer told during his time in Wakanda.
“I knew I wanted to write about revolutions, the upheaval that it causes to everybody’s lives. It would allow me to weave a tapestry where I could do one major theme that could go throughout the series and cross individual chapters. So I could do something political or something about domestic violence or something about religion."
Though the writer has been away from Wakanda for awhile, McGregor returned to Black Panther with a new story in honor of the film. This year's Black Panther Annual brought back the McGregor for a new tale, alongside stories by Reginald Hudlin and Christopher Priest—two other key minds behind T'Challa in the comics. Marvel has had issues with writers in the past when it comes to their creations, but for McGregor it seems that Black Panther more than honored his work.
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