The news has been full of Black Panther casting announcements recently. Shortly after it was announced that Lupita Nyong’o might be playing T’Challa’s love interest, it was confirmed that Michael B. Jordan has joined the cast as a potential villain.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise; Jordan has been the star of director Ryan Coogler’s only two feature films to date (Fruitvale Station & Creed), and he received critical acclaim for both roles.
THR states that his part in Panther is yet unknown, but that it “could be a villain.” With that small detail in mind, we break down what character the actor might be playing:
Erik Killmonger is T’Challa’s archenemy – the foe that Panther’s never been able to best. A native of Wakanda, Killmonger was exiled to Harlem after his family (reluctantly) helped Ulysses Klaw with his invasion. He spent his youth studying, training, and becoming a brilliant scientist before eventually returning to Africa with the intent of usurping T’Challa as chieftan.
Since Klaw was already introduced in Age of Ultron, there’s a good chance that he’ll return in Black Panther, making Killmonger a natural addition as his co-conspirator.
The White Wolf (Hunter) is T’Challa’s adopted brother. King T’Chaka saved him as a baby when his birth parents’ plane went down, and raised him as a part of the royal family. But then T’Challa came along, the true heir to the throne, and Hunter grew jealous. He eventually became the White Wolf, leader of Wakanda’s secret police. Although an antagonist, he deeply loves his country, and everything he does is to make his brother a better leader.
Hunter is portrayed as a white man in the comics, which is a way to further isolate him from the tribe. But there are other ways to accomplish that goal, so there’s no reason Jordan can’t play him.
Christopher Priest, Reverend Achebe’s creator, describes this character as “the Joker to Panther’s Batman,” which is all too true. A maniac with a mysterious past, Achebe will stoop to unthinkable lows to take down his enemies and rise to power.
The Reverend is annoyingly insane, but he’s also a brilliant manipulator of events who forces the Panther to use his intellect more than his brawn. He might not work as the film’s only villain, but he would be perfect as the mastermind working in the wings.
Ok, yes, he’s a dude in a gorilla outfit. But if Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the MCU film most grounded in reality, could use Batroc the Leaper in a serious way, why can’t Man-Ape have his moment?
Man-Ape’s real name is M’Baku, and he’s one of the greatest warriors in Wakanda. He heads the White Gorilla cult, and repeatedly tries to remove T’Challa from power so that he can rule the nation how he sees fit. With a few (major) tweaks to the outfit, he could make for a great rogue to see on screen.
Who do you think Michael B. Jordan will play? Let us know in the comments below! And click here to see who Lupita Nyong’o might be playing in the film!
Black Panther is scheduled for release on February 16, 2018.