The resurrection of Erik Killmonger is the latest of the Avengers: Endgame theories to hit the web, and it seems as though Marvel fans are predicting the Black Panther villain may return to the MCU. While Michael B. Jordan’s reprisal of the role would make quite a few people happy, is this a supervillain death that should be reversed? There’s certainly an argument to be made both ways, with strong points to be made both for and against this comeback.
The gut reaction for many may be yes, and it isn’t hard to see why. Erik Killmonger was one of the most sympathetic and likable villains Marvel has created to date, which is really saying something. Erik’s actions, while extreme, were layered behind a valid message that was easy to get behind. It seemed as though Black Panther laid the groundwork for him and T’Challa to have a lasting rivalry, only to kill him off by the film’s end.
Bringing back Killmonger in Avengers: Endgame would be a huge twist, and a great way to reignite the tension between the two characters. Additionally, Killmonger would be a great asset to have in a fight against Thanos, provided he could be swayed to aide the heroes as opposed to taking another shot at capturing Wakanda. Plus, is there a better way to build hype for Black Panther 2 than by bringing back an A-lister like Michael B. Jordan?
When viewed through that lens, the answer seems clear. Bringing back Erik Killmonger sounds like a great idea on paper, and Marvel could eventually transform Michael B. Jordan’s character into the villain you hate to love like Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. It’s a perfect idea, unless you’re someone of the mindset who thinks dead characters should stay dead.
Let’s face it, Marvel will find ways to bring back whatever characters it’s killed off however it can. That’s not always a bad thing, but in the case of Black Panther, it could really cheapen the impact of the end. Will T’Challa’s killing of Killmonger feel as substantial to future generations if they already know he’ll return in a future film?
There’s probably a score of Loki fans right now shaking their heads no, and the Asgardian is certainly a poster boy of a character fans rally behind in life and death. That said, deception and trickery are Loki’s M.O., and such shenanigans are to be expected from someone like that.
The same can’t be said for the MCU’s Killmonger, who embraced his fate in death rather than spending the rest of his days locked away in prison. There was something noble about that, and bringing him back to life, whether he chose for it to happen or not, diminishes his decision. I’m all for having Killmonger in Black Panther 2, but not if that presence does anything that lessens the impact of his death in Black Panther.
Additionally, there’s really little reason for Killmonger to be alive in the MCU at this stage. In a world where Erik Killmonger returns, it would stand to reason T’Challa would as well. If both men are alive, T’Challa already revealed Wakanda to the world and set up programs in order to help underprivileged black children and families around the world. What does Killmonger do when his primary motivation for wanting to seize control of Wakanda is already a thing?
I would imagine he’d be up to a whole lot of nothing. His beef with T’Challa would be squashed, so what would he do then? A return into Wakandan politics seems unlikely given his failed uprising and the fallout from that, so he’d be brought back for the sheer novelty of doing so. A mellowed out Killmonger generally in support of where things are headed in Wakanda does not sound like the type of reprisal I’d like to see.
To be honest, I’m more curious to see what the future of the Black Panther franchise holds than I am seeing a fan-favorite villain back in the saddle. With all the work that went into establishing Wakanda and T’Challa in the first movie, the only direction this franchise should be headed is forward. That means new and exciting villains like Namor, and not more of the same just because it’s the safer option.
Now, with that said, let’s not forget that Avengers: Endgame could bring back Erik Killmonger as CBR theorized without time travel or retconning. There’s a theory that Killmonger never died at the end of Black Panther, which means he could be kicking around somewhere in the new film just waiting to be found by the heroes.
This is a scenario I could get behind, mainly because it gives Erik Killmonger both direction and purpose if only for one adventure. Erik may be driven by his wish to see Wakanda returned to the state it was in prior to Avengers: Infinity War. Granted, this is a stretch given the villain looked super dead in Black Panther‘s final moments, but Wakandan technology is pretty advanced, so maybe T’Challa did something immediately after to save him?
Perhaps the strongest argument one could have against a Killmonger return is what would change if he stayed dead? The Black Panther franchise isn’t hurting for villains, and it’d be one less talented actor on the Disney payroll that has to make scheduling these ensemble events nothing short of a nightmare. Having Michael B. Jordan back in the MCU would be nice, but it’s also completely unnecessary.
One thing few will dispute is Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Killmonger was one of the best on-screen performances we’ve seen of a Marvel villain to date. It’s why there’s a community of folks hoping desperately he’ll re-emerge in Avengers: Endgame, and why there’s a community of those hoping the exact opposite. We’ll have to wait and see what will actually happen, of course, and we can only hope that however this pans out, audiences are ultimately pleased with what happens.
Avengers: Endgame is set to arrive in theaters on April 26. For more on the film, check out the latest conversation surrounding the film’s trailer, which has people debating Scarlett Johannson’s hair.
Do you want to see Killmonger in Avengers: Endgame?