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Erik "Killmonger" Stevens / N'Jadaka
"I want the throne!"
Click here to see him in his Panther Habit 

Birth Name: N'Jadaka

Known Aliases: Erik Stevens, Killmonger

Species: Enhanced human

Citizenship: Wakandan-American

Affiliation(s): United States Naval Academy (formerly), MIT (formerly), Navy SEALs (formerly), Ulysses Klaue (formerly), Wakanda (Golden Tribe)

Portrayed By: Michael B. Jordan, Seth Carr (young)

Voiced By: Alejandro Orozco (Latin-American Spanish dub), Javier Lorca (European Spanish dub), Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese dub), Diouc Koma (French dub), Christian Perreault (Canadian French dub), Pierre Bittencourt (Brazilian Portuguese dub)

Appearances: Black Panther

"I lived my entire life waiting for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed just to get here. I killed in America, Afghanistan, Iraq. I took life from my own brothers and sisters right here on this continent! And all this death, just so I could kill you."

A former American black-ops soldier who attempts a coup against the royal family of Wakanda. As it turns out, his story is much more complex than it initially appears; born as N'Jadaka, son of Prince N'Jobu, Erik Stevens was left orphaned when King T'Chaka killed his own brother in self-defense. While N'Jobu's body was hidden to maintain the lie that he disappeared, Stevens was raised in a hostile environment, becoming a brutal soldier to prepare for his revenge. After learning of his father's plan to distribute Wakandan weapons to start uprisings to empower oppressed Africans around the world, Stevens seeks to implement this plan by becoming Black Panther and ending Wakanda's isolationist ways, all while turning the nation into an imperialist power, as a way of lashing out against a system that left him alone and oppressed.


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  • 0% Approval Rating: Upon usurping the throne, he’s become the most hated king of Wakanda. Members of the Tribal Council aren't exactly fond of him and are too scared to stand up to him. Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje clearly dislike him and are hesitant to work for him but do so anyway because they have a legal obligation to serve whoever the ruler of Wakanda is... until T'Challa's reappearance at the climax to finish his duel with Erik gives them the excuse to rebel against him. Even his most loyal (and probably only) supporter, W'Kabi, eventually gives up on his goal and turns himself in.
  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Courtesy of his vibranium suit. They're strong enough to pierce through human skin and other objects made of vibranium.
  • Accuser of the Brethren: He really tears into Wakanda for doing nothing while Africa was torn apart by slavers and imperial powers, and those of African descent face immense persecution in the world.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the comics, Erik Killmonger is the character's Western name. Here, his Western name is Erik Stevens, and Killmonger is a nickname he was given during his time in the U.S. military.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: As played by Michael B. Jordan, he's much more handsome than he is in the comics, where he's a more typical Scary Black Man.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, alias N'Jadaka, son of Prince N'Jobu, and thus T'Challa's cousin, was a kidnapping victim in the comics, raised by the very people who killed his parents—themselves traitors to Wakanda—who molded him into a hateful and vengeful man that believed Black Panther's reign was in defiance of tradition. This iteration lost his father to King T'Chaka, his own uncle, as punishment for him selling out Wakanda's Vibranium to Ulysses Klaue, and was forced to spend his youth on the streets while struggling with heavy systemic racism. His goal to take Wakanda and use it to force the world to submit to its whim was presented in the wrong, but T'Challa found that his cousin's desires, though misguided, raised several points about Wakanda being capable of helping to end systemic racism throughout the world, yet chose to stay hidden all this time.
  • Agent Provocateur: Agent Ross recognizes Erik "Killmonger" Stevens as one of his own, who was trained in infiltrating high levels of government and destabilizing them to make them easier to take down. True to form, after defeating T'Challa, he becomes the leader of Wakanda and puts in motion his plan to wage war on the world that enslaves and oppressed the people of Africa, not caring if Wakanda is destroyed in the ensuing conflict.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite all of Erik's cruel and evil acts, his death is a somber event for T'Challa, who recognizes that Wakanda failed Erik. He even offers to heal him, but Erik refuses and dies peacefully watching the Wakandan sunset.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: He is eventually revealed to be the child of T'Challa's uncle after he fell in love with an American woman. After the death of his father, Erik was completely alone, but no one mentions why his mom couldn't be there to raise him. invokedWord of God says she was jailed before the events of the flashback and the plan N'Jobu was seen going over was to bust her out. She eventually died there.
  • And This Is for...: Delivers a "This is for my father!" right before his first attempt to kill T'Challa.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: During his last fight with T'Challa, Killmonger vows that he'll kill T'Challa's family and friends and bury them in the ground next to Zuri.
  • Angry Black Man: Part of his overall Malcolm Xerox attitude, but he exudes rage, pain, and hatred in most of his appearances, making him the most noticeable example of this trope in the movie. Even his father, the source of his beliefs, fell short of the sheer ruthlessness Erik dedicated to his ideals.
  • Arch-Enemy: To T'Challa, since T'Challa's father killed his own father and Erik killed Zuri after he offered up his own life to save T'Challa's.
  • Artistic License – Military: He's said to have graduated from Annapolis at the age of 19 (impossible, as the US military doesn't commission officers that young no matter how intelligent). Additionally, his brands may not even be allowed due to current military regulations which try to instill a more "professional" looking force.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This is usually his main strategy. The way he wants to show Wakanda's superiority is to wage war and kill every nation's leaders and also their children. But there are more ways to show Wakanda's technology and city of Vibranium as T'Challa chose a diplomatic way of revealing their existence.
  • Avenging the Villain: Though his goal throughout the movie is to end black oppression by arming black people to overthrow their oppressors, Erik is driven at heart by the death of his father N'Jobu, and his takeover of Wakanda's throne is also done out of personal revenge against T'Chaka having killed N'Jobu, albeit accidentally.
  • Ax-Crazy: The scars on his body represent each person he's killed; there are HUNDREDS of them. Also, his name is Killmonger. Need you demand more proof this man is insane?
  • Badass Normal: A former black-ops soldier who has an extensive amount of kills to his name and has managed to take down governments with his tactics. When busting Klaue out of jail he manages to fight off a fully equipped Black Panther using his military skills alone and is later able to defeat a depowered T'Challa in combat for the throne, to the point of putting him in a near-death coma.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In a way. While he is killed and doesn't get to rule over Wakanda and commit mass oppression of non-black people, the entire incident did convince T'Challa to open Wakanda to the rest of the world and share the country's resources with those who need them. In a way, it's a more benevolent execution of his plans.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: T'Challa runs into trouble when dealing with Klaue because he opts for diplomacy when he had the perfect chance to kill his enemy in South Korea, instead choosing to apprehend him. It leads to Killmonger breaking Klaue out and ultimately killing him himself.
  • The Berserker: He was a One-Man Army in his past and according to Agent Ross he racked up a lot of kills "like it was a video game". During the fights in the movie with T'Challa, he's very aggressive and hits him with strong repeated strikes with his weapons.
  • Big Bad: He's the main antagonist of Black Panther (2018). Despite initially working with Klaue to get close to the arms dealer, Erik kills the man once he has Klaue in private with only one other guard, and uses his body to get into and then take over Wakanda, planning a global insurrection that will leave him as the sole ruler of the world.
  • Bilingual Backfire: When he announces his intent to take the throne, the other council members (particularly the mining tribe elder) mock him in Xhosa. Then he reveals his true name and parentage, also in Xhosa.
  • Bling of War: His Panther suit is gold and black, unlike T'Challa's own almost entirely black one. He also has gold caps on his lower eye teeth, and during the museum heist, takes a liking to an African tribal mask. Extra points for it resembling his comic book counterpart.
  • Blood Knight: Played with. He states that every life he took as a soldier served the specific purpose of bringing him to the throne of Wakanda. However, he sports a noticeable grin when fighting the heroes at the climax.
  • Breakout Villain: While T'Challa's Arch-Enemy in the source material, Killmonger was still a lesser-known Marvel villain. The MCU version, however, quickly became one of the films most popular and iconic villains thanks to his tragic, complex motivations and strong performance by Jordan, and was even featured in an episode of What If in response to this.
  • Burial at Sea: His Last Request is to be buried in the Atlantic Ocean with the Africans who jumped off the slaver ships rather than face enslavement in the New World.
  • Cain and Abel: A cousin variation, with him being Cain to T'Challa's Abel due to his violence and the disrespect he shows to his country and its heritage.
  • The Caligula: Upon becoming king, he ignores the needs of Wakanda's people to prioritize his own goals and cause chaos to the world's oppressors. Needless to say, the Tribal Council are afraid of his reign.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of the items on Cap's list includes the Rocky movies. Jordan played the title character of those movies' spinoff Creed, which was Ryan Coogler's previous film before Black Panther, making it a two-for-one example of this trope.
  • Child of Two Worlds: The son of a Wakandan male and an African American woman. Because of his past and vendetta against the royal family, he strongly identifies with his American heritage and only acknowledges his Wakandan ancestry when it suits his goals.
  • Clashing Cousins: He is the main antagonist for his cousin, T'Challa / Black Panther.
  • Closet Geek: What If...? (2021) has him designing a blatant Gundam, and when Tony calls him out on it he admits to being an anime fan.
  • Combat Compliment: Gives one to T'Challa when the latter delivers the killing blow with Killmonger's own spear head, calling it "a hell of a move".
  • Composite Character: He has shades of T'Shan as T'Challa's cousin wanting to take the throne for himself.
  • Cool Mask: Sports a nifty reinforced ceremonial when breaking Klaue out of his cell, which he stole along with the actual target vibranium artifact in the museum heist specifically because it looked cool. The golden jaguar mask on his suit of armor is also very cool-looking.
  • Covered in Scars: His torso is covered in markings as a result of undergoing scarification, each one representing a life he's taken. There's at least hundreds.
  • Create Your Own Villain: T'Chaka killed his father and left Erik to find his body. Had he taken Erik with him to Wakanda, he likely would have become an asset to the nation due to his intelligence and vision. Unfortunately, this traumatic betrayal and abandonment sent him down the path of villainy. In another way, the USA were also responsible for him. He grew up amid the racial tensions in his country, and the US military gave him all the skills he needed to conduct his ultimate plan. When Erik meets with his father again in the spiritual plane, his father laments what his son turned out to be from that tragic event. Tellingly, he appears for a moment as a little boy, showing that he never grew past this horrible tragedy.
  • Culture Clash: A major point of contention is his American upbringing clashing with Wakanda's own culture. Epitomized when Erik (seeing things from an African-American, Pan-African point of view) calls out the royal court for "not helping our people" during the slave trade and Scramble for Africa, only for them to respond incredulously that the people being conquered and enslaved weren't their people, feeling no connection to tribes and nations on the other side of the continent just because they share a phenotype and broad land mass with them.note  His Lower-Class Lout mannerisms and dress also clash strongly with the nobles and royals he spends most of his rule conversing with. Ultimately, he feels like even more of an outsider in his father's homeland than he did in the USA (several people refer to him as "American" or "foreigner"), which just increases his disdain for Wakanda. This is reflected in his Leitmotif, which consists of traditional African music being overpowered by American Hip-Hop beats.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His first fight with T'Challa was massively one-sided in Erik's favor. He only got hit twice by T'Challa and proceeded to stab and beat him multiple times. Once he killed Zuri, he completely broke T'Challa's composure in the battle and made him an easier target for his attacks and eventual throw off the waterfall.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His mother was jailed and father murdered by his uncle. And said uncle abandoned him. He grew up on the rough streets of Oakland and implicitly experienced forms of racism.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As per usual in this setting, he gets in a few witty remarks, like when he reveals his parentage to the Wakandan royal family.
    Killmonger: [to Ramonda] Hey, Auntie.
  • Death by Irony: During his reign as king, he proclaimed that "the sun would never set on the Wakandan Empire". The last thing he sees before he dies is... the sun setting down on Wakanda.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In Black Panther, he is killed by a mortal wound sustained while fighting T'Challa, but in the comics, he was killed by Monica Rambeau flying through his chest at light-speed.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: His black supremacist ideas evoke all sorts of reactive ideologies from people's on the wrong end of ethnic conquests.
    • His dreams of a pan-African Wakandan empire, as opposed to actual Pan-Africanism, are reminiscent of the ideology of Pan-Slavism in 19th century Tsarist Russia and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere plan devised by Imperial Japan. All three supposedly wanted to free their oppressed brethren (Africans, Slavs, East Asians) and unite them against the Western world order, with their technologically advanced and powerful nations, naturally, in charge. Both Russia and Japan were extremely ruthless with those "brotherly nations" who refused their vision of unity (as Poland, Korea and China can attest), so we can imagine how "well" Killmonger's plan would have gone had he succeeded.
    • Killmonger displays traits of a Hotep, the Hotep ideology being one that values the desires of hyper-masculine heterosexual cis-gendered African men above all else.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: After being defeated by T'Challa, Killmonger refuses any offer of mercy that T'Challa was giving him.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: Erik sports dreadlocks which are mixed with an asymmetrical undercut. He laters combs the dreadlocks backwards. It certainly makes him distinctive against the people of Wakanda, who do not style their hair in this fashion.
  • Dual Wielding: Faces off against the Dora Milaje and T'Challa with a short sword and the cut end of a spear.
  • Eagleland: Type 2, with an unusual twist to it. Like most examples of this, Erik is arrogant, brash, jingoistic, bloodthirsty, rude, crude and a self-righteous hypocrite; he even has a backstory of overthrowing foreign governments for the CIA. The key difference is that he's a Malcolm Xerox who's chiefly concerned with African-American interests. Klaue remarks upon learning of Erik's true heritage that he always thought he was just a "crazy American".
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Already an impressive soldier and was able to defeat and almost kill T'Challa in the duel for the throne, he nonetheless gets the powers of the Black Panther through the Heart-Shaped Herb after being crowned King.
  • Enemy Mine: Subverted. Appears he's initially working with Klaue since Klaue's the only one with enough of a grudge against Wakanda to help steal and sell a Vibranium artifact. Erik's actually just waiting to get Klaue with his guard down, so he can kill the arms dealer and use Klaue's corpse as a "little gift" to get into Wakanda and realize his actual plan to challenge T'Challa for the throne.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Disguised as a visitor to a British museum, he casually corrects the museum's curator about an exhibit's origin and reveals his intention to steal it. When she protests he asks if the people who brought it to England didn't steal it as well, and once she and the guards are dead he nabs a nearby Cool Mask just because he thinks it looks good.
    • The Opening Narration also turns out to be one as after N'Jobu finishes telling the story, young Erik questions why Wakanda stays hidden and keeps the truth about its resources a secret, showing his penchant for questioning traditions.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When Zuri tells him that he was the one who sold out his father to T'Chaka, Erik gives him a momentary look of sorrow and shock before impaling him.
    Killmonger: I'll take you both, Uncle James!
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Has a lover/girlfriend who assists him in robbing the museum, then helping break Klaue out from jail. Subverted when Klaue takes her hostage, he kills her without remorse to take away his leverage, showing Killmonger prioritizes himself and his vengeance.
    • A major part of Erik's motivation stems from a desire to avenge the death of his father, N'Jobu, while the rest of his motivation mirrors a more extremist version of his father's beliefs. When Erik meets his father in the ancestral plane, he tries to downplay his grief with the statement, "Everybody dies here," but it's undermined by him shedding tears as his father speaks to him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's visibly shocked when Klaue lets one of the museum guards go free, only to shoot the guy in the back as he was running away. But he gets over it once Klaue explains it was done to spread out the crime scene and help cover their tracks.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To T'Challa, as fellow Wakandans who now seek to rule the country as king. But while T'Challa sees things through a heroic lens of helping others and correcting the mistakes of the past, Erik is driven by revenge against the governments and power structures of the world that left people like him suffering. Also, he has a vicious demeanor in general that represents what T'Challa would have ended up as if he allowed his vengeance for his father's death to completely consume him in Captain America: Civil War. After seizing power, he even dons a variation of T'Challa's black long coat and his own black and gold version of the Panther's vibranium suit.
    • And to Peter Quill. Both had their lives changed after witnessing one of their parents die when they were young boys and grew up to be savvy outlaws. However, while Peter grew up to be a well-adjusted person due to being raised by Yondu, Erik grew up alone and turned into a cruel, power-hungry and spiteful man.
    • Also to Steve Rogers. Both men grew up in disadvantaged backgrounds and forged military careers. Furthermore, both men gained superhuman enhancements and were armed with Vibranium equipment. However, while Steve fights to protect and uses a shield (a defensive weapon), Killmonger fights to conquer and uses a sword (an offensive weapon). Ironically enough both of them would be the last to officially receive the augmentation that was destroyed in a fire/explosion. Finally Cap's name begins with Steve while Killmonger's last name is Stevens, a variation of Steve. And a meta example, both actors Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan were the Human Torch.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Is this to Klaue, showing the audience how dangerous he is.
  • Evil Is Hammy: It's clear that Michael B. Jordan is having a blast playing Killmonger. In-Universe, Erik is constantly smiling (menacingly) and has a penchant long drawn out speeches that cause many of the characters like Okoye to be put off by his antics.
  • Evil Prince: First cousin to T'Challa and Shuri and a bonafide sociopath who wants the throne for himself.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Knowing that his wound is fatal and that if Wakanda's technology did heal him he'd just be imprisoned for the rest of his life, he chooses to remove the blade from his body and bleed out as he and T'Challa watch the sunset, plus considering his mother died in prison according to Word of God in the DVD/Blu-Ray commentary, he would rather die while he is still not in captivity.
  • Fatal Flaw: Revenge, crossing over into Revenge Before Reason. While he rightfully criticizes both America and Wakanda for their roles in the suffering of black people like him, Killmonger's hatred and refusal to forgive either nations ultimately leads to his downfall. Rather than use his skills and connections to non-violently help black people and himself, Killmonger tries to take over Wakanda and later the world, which lead to a Wakandan civil war and his death at the hands of T'Challa.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He comes off as charming and can be quite a nice guy and a male version of a Sassy Black Woman who speaks in Jive Turkey when he sees the need, but it's all an act. When the mask slips, it's clear that he's an angry, hateful and cruel person who takes great joy in the violence he causes.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Even after gaining the Black Panther powers, he still fights with the hand-to-hand combat skills he obtained during his military career. T'Challa is able to defeat him because he uses riskier maneuvers that are only possible with the powers.
  • Freudian Excuse: He lost his father as a kid, grew up in poverty and had to fight for everything...
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse:... but as T'Challa points out, he's allowed his hatred for the people that have wronged him to consume him to the point his actions are no different from theirs and will only bring about more suffering, including for the people he wants to help.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: He was a former Navy SEAL and black ops assassin who became a terrorist and international criminal.
  • Gang Banger: From his speech patterns to his clothing, he always chooses to present as a kid who grew up alone on the streets of Oakland, despite his intelligence and his military training making it easy for him to "pass" as whatever level of economic class he'd like. Even when dealing with royalty, he never drops his street swagger.
  • Generation Xerox: Killmonger continued his father's mission of distributing Wakandan weapons to liberate black people from oppression, and he later shares his father's fate of dying in the hands of a male family member who is both a King of Wakanda and a Black Panther.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ross mentions that Killmonger finished college at the young age of 19 and then went on to graduate school at MIT (as did his comic book counterpart). He's also an elite soldier who is extremely skilled at hand-to-hand combat.
  • Gold Tooth: Two of Erik's bottom teeth are gold-capped, indicating his showy and flashy nature.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: It's no surprise that he chooses the gold-themed Black Panther suit that T'Challa considered too showy. Killmonger wants to demonstrate more of the Wakandan power to the world with force than what T'Challa had intended, so he wants to be seen. He also has Gold Teeth.
  • Graceful Loser: When T'Challa delivers the killing blow on him at the end of their final fight, he admits that it was a "hell of a move".
  • Hero Killer: Apart from nearly killing T'Challa, he actually kills Zuri by stabbing him right in front of the people of Wakanda.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A somewhat complicated example. Half of Erik's problem is that having suffered at the hands of racism in the past, he grew up wanting to fight against these monsters by any means necessary. The other half is that he spent years working for a morally dubious organization who used reprehensible methods (the CIA's black ops department) and wasn't able to fully ditch the mindset even after turning against them. T'Challa calls him out on it, pointing out that his ultimate plan is no different than what the white colonists of the past did.
    T'Challa: You want to see us become just like the people you hate so much! Divide and conquer the land as they did!
    Erik: Nah, I learned from my enemies! I beat 'em at their own game!
    T'Challa: You have become them! You would destroy the world, Wakanda included!
  • Historical In-Joke: Before his duel with T'Challa he snaps the long handle of his spear to make it more practical for close-quarters combat. This was the major military innovation that Shaka Zulu made which allowed him to forge his own African empire.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: T'Challa fatally wounds him with his own short spear.
  • Hot-Blooded: Killmonger has a bad temper when entering Wakanda even bordering on a Hair-Trigger Temper but it's just that he is very passionate about overthrowing white people due to having to deal with racism in his past and is using all of that Wrath and hatred on his own people. It is made clear when he is seen most of the time raising his voice when he wants to make a point.
  • Hypocrite: Killmonger's It's All About Me and Moral Myopia attitude results in several of his beliefs and actions being very hypocritical:
    • He has no problem with killing and bossing around other black people despite his stated goal of helping them out. He straight up kills his girlfriend to get to kill Klaue, then makes a passionate speech about how cruel the world is to "their kind", without any hint of irony. Right before his duel with T'Challa, he boasts about the fact that he killed several Africans during his military career as part of his journey to get revenge on the royal family.
    • He holds a grudge against white people and eventually wants to kill them all for what their ancestors did to his ancestors in the past. Only he's half Wakandan and he himself points out that Wakanda is almost as complicit in colonialism as Europe is by having the power to stop it but not doing so. He chooses to embrace his (African) American side over his Wakandan side and view his claim to the throne as a tool. While he is willing to forgive himself and Wakandans who ally with him for their ancestor's crimes, he is unwilling to forgive those who do not ally with him and the world at large for their ancestors' crimes.
    • While he's angry at white people for the racism and abuse they inflicted on minorities, it's shown he only cares about the racism that was done to black people and he has no problem with subjugating the other non-white racial groups who have suffered from imperialism and oppression (one of his first targets is Hong Kong, a majority Asian city which was ruled by Britain until the very late 20th century and still exhibits lingering effects of British rule).
    • He goes on a rant about how it was wrong for white people to plunder to artifacts from Africa and how the artifacts in the museum belong to the people the British stole them from. Minutes later he steals one of these artifacts himself,note  not because he thought he had a right to it but because it looked cool.
    • When T'Challa tells him that the people of other African nations and African descent "aren't [Wakanda's] own", Killmonger questions this by pointing out that they all descended from the first humans in Africa so they technically are the same people. Not a bad point, except by extension this also means that all the white people he hates fall into the same category since they are also descended from those humans.
    • As he's beating T'Challa during their first fight, Killmonger chastises him for failing to be the king "who's supposed to lead [Wakanda] to the future", but his motives are firmly rooted in the past due to him seeking Revenge by Proxy.
    • Part of his hatred of white people is based on the plunder and colonization of African nations. However, he forgets that a key factor of colonialism is the subjugation of its people and the imposition of the colonizers morals onto them. Which is exactly what he does over the course of the film.
      • He is perfectly respectful of Wakandan traditions when it suits him like when he demands a challenge against T'Challa for the Wakandan throne, pointing out that, as per the law, he has the right to do so as the son of Prince N'Jobu. Later, when T'Challa returns from being Only Mostly Dead and points out the challenge for throne has not ended as the law says one of the combatants has to either die or yield, he refuses to follow protocol and tries siccing the Wakandan army on him.
      • Crossing over with He Who Fights Monsters and You Are What You Hate, he's angry at white people for believing their superior technology gave them the right to conquer other less technologically advanced people across the globe, yet he believes that Wakanda's superior technology gives Wakanda the right to conquer the sovereign peoples of the world, culminating in the boast, "The sun will never set on the Wakandan Empire", taken almost word for word from a phrase used for empires down the millennia (including the USA), most commonly about the British Empire, which underlines how he's become exactly like those he hates. This, of course, does not escape comment by our heroes.
      • Additionally, he chooses to keep the Black Panther powers entirely for himself desecrating one of the most sacred aspects of the Wakandan religion for his own personal gain.
  • I Die Free: He knows that Wakandan medical technology could save him from his fatal stab wound, but knows that T'Challa would probably just throw him in jail for his crimes after healing him. Presumably unwilling to share the same fate as his mother, he elects to perish on his own terms.
  • Ignored Epiphany: He misconstrues his entirely innocent, bittersweet reunion with his father in the spirit realm, urging him to find a new family with the Wakandans, as justification for the Wakandans not being his family at all, and just another means for him to take revenge on the world.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: This is how T'Challa takes him out. As the vibranium train passes by and deactivates the vibranium nanites, he kicks the spear into the air and stabs him in the gut before the nanites reactivate. Killmonger himself is utterly astonished.
  • Instant Armor: His Black Panther armor is made with the same vibranium nano-machines as T'Challa's, meaning it can instantly form around his body at a moment's notice.
  • It's All About Me: He claims that he wants Wakanda to declare war on the rest of the world to help the oppressed black people all over the world, but when T'Challa points out the flaws in his plans, Erik outright says that he doesn't care and that he just wants the rest of the world to burn while feeling the same sort of pain he felt. He also reacts very violently to the idea that there will be other Black Panthers and other kings of Wakanda after him, hence burning the Heart-Shaped Herb gardens. Then when T'Challa comes back from being Only Mostly Dead and tries to resume the challenge since he didn't die or yield, Erik refuses to follow proper protocol and instead tries siccing the Wakandan army on him. He is using Wakanda as a vehicle for his own homicidal revenge, and likely plans to see it burn to the ground along with everyone and everything else one way or another.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: First shown to have a girlfriend who is his partner-in-crime and clearly affectionate with her, only to kill her without a thought when Klaue tries to use her as a hostage.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: His father was denied a trial and brutally murdered by T'Chaka. Furthermore, he was abandoned in America to avoid any questions at home about his brother's death and deny a rival to T'Challa's inheritance. N'Jobu's family wasn't known to anyone in Wakanda other than T'Chaka. Additionally, under Wakandan Law any son of a King or their son can challenge the King for the Throne. If T'Chaka had brought him back to Wakanda, it only would have muddled the way for his preferred heir. His son. Furthermore, Killmonger would have been a claimant who was already predisposed against T'Chaka's line due to his actions against his father, and thus more likely to exercise his claim. So T'Chaka abandoned him and covered up his existence. Killmonger is correct that this was a despicable thing to do and he has every right to want revenge as a result. In fact, the fundamental injustice of it is why T'Challa allows him to challenge him for the throne.
  • Jive Turkey: He tends to uses slang that is rooted with his African/Wakandan-American raising in inner-city Oakland.

  • Kill Tally: He used ritual scarification to mark every life he took. His chest, arms, and back are covered in these scars taking him from a Serial Killer to a mass murderer.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: It is cemented that Killmonger is a hateful character by how gleeful he is at the opportunity to kill T'Challa, his cousin who has personally never done anything wrong to Erik. Whenever T'Challa engages in ritual combat, he always gives his opponents, including Killmonger, multiple opportunities to yield rather than be killed. Killmonger takes obvious pleasure in throwing T'Challa off the mountain to his apparent death.
  • Knight of Cerebus: In contrast to Klaue, nothing about Killmonger is played humorously and the movie gets much darker once he takes center stage as the main villain.
  • Last Request: When T'Challa mortally wounds him, he asks to see the Wakandan sunset like his father promised he would show him and to be buried at sea with the Africans who chose death over bondage.
  • Legacy Character: Briefly holds the title of Black Panther after seemingly killing T'Challa.
  • Leitmotif: Scenes featuring him tend to add a hip-hop style beat to the usual musical style of the soundtrack, representing his American upbringing overpowering his Wakandan ancestry.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Black Panther suit he picks has a distinctive golden glow, as opposed to T'Challa's purple one. Not coincidentally, the pattern on his suit is downright evil looking.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Killmonger becomes stronger, faster, tougher, and deadlier after ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Upon reuniting with N'Jobu while visiting the spiritual plane, Erik is shown to have become far more invested and dedicated to his ideal than his father ever was. Despite sharing the same goal of ending black oppression, N'Jobu couldn't help but be sad to see what his son had become.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He's the son of T'Chaka's brother N'Jobu, which makes him T'Chaka and Ramonda's nephew and T'Challa and Shuri's first cousin. Only T'Chaka knew about him because he killed N'Jobu then left Erik to fend for himself in America. Since N'Jobu kept Erik a secret and T'Chaka never told his family the truth of what happened to his brother, the rest of the royal family had no idea he existed until he revealed himself.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Invoked. Despite being a graduate of Annapolis and MIT, and a highly trained US government operative specializing in infiltration, he always chooses to reflect his upbringing as a kid from the streets of Oakland. Even after becoming king of Wakanda, he constantly uses Jive Turkey slang, even in front of the other leaders of Wakanda, his preferred clothing is a long unbuttoned black jacket that exposes his chest, and he shows zero regard for protocol or tradition. It's telling his chosen Black Panther suit is the gaudy gold-augmented one which T'Challa turned down for the simpler silver-augmented one with the subtle purple undertones.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: He is the one who reveals to the Wakandan royal family that he is a part of them. In particular, he responds to Ramonda's shock with a witty "Hey, auntie".
  • Malcolm Xerox: His plan is to take over Wakanda and then start exporting weapons to gangs, militants and freedom fighter members of oppressed minorities around the world, chiefly those who are Black, and he implicitly is something of a Black Supremacist who wants Wakanda to be running the world mainly because it is a technologically advanced African nation and thus, in his eyes, the only one suited to running the world fairly. This doesn't stop him from killing or bossing around any other Black folk who happen to get in his way of course, but he clearly believes in his own cause and in his final moments even compares himself to slaves who jumped off the ship to drown themselves rather than live in bondage, when given the choice between death or prison.
  • Maniac Mercenary: He is a bit crazy and temperamental and a mercenary.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: Is seemingly The Dragon to Klaue, but was really plotting to kill him and use his dead body to enter Wakanda so he could take the throne.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The Opening Narration for the movie turns out to be a talk between him and his father N'Jobu. He is also the child shown in 1992 who stared at the Wakandan ships over his apartment.
  • Missing Mom: His mother is never so much as mentioned, aside from being the American woman his father fell in love with. Word of God is that she was sent to prison for an unknown crime (the plan N'Jobu was going over with Zuri was to break her out) and she died there shortly after his father's death.
  • Moral Myopia: Constantly rails at the plight of black people at the hands of whites despite killing his way to his position and planning to inflict similar treatment on the world outside Wakanda. Notably, he gives no indication that he wants to help other minorities, just the ones who look like him. He also growls constantly about how he suffered because his father was killed, but still plans to kill the children of anyone in power outside Wakanda. Even his death scene is one of these as he believes allowing himself to die to avoid imprisonment for his crimes puts him on the same plane as a captured African who jumped ship to avoid a life of slavery.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He gets as many Shirtless Scenes as T'Challa. Erik takes off his shirt onscreen to fight him in the waterfalls, is shirtless when ordering the Heart-Shaped Herbs to be burned down as well as wears a long jacket with his chest still exposed when he becomes king. Of course, the rows of scars visible across his torso can drag this towards Fan Disservice.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: You don't get the nickname "Killmonger" by being a spectacularly nice person. It's revealed that he gained it by killing hundreds of people just to add to his tally.
  • National Stereotypes: Erik embodies the idea that people from Oakland are poor, from the ghetto and criminals. Having seen people like him suffer while the Wakandans he descended from thriving, he makes it his goal to even the score.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His fight with T'Challa at the waterfall became quite brutal once Erik dominated his foe. He punched him in the face as well as kneeing him there and ultimately throwing him off the waterfall. The royal family even reacts in horror at T'Challa's defeat in this moment.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: His preferred get-up once he ascends to the Wakandan throne is an unbuttoned jacket, to underscore how he still chooses to present as a Lower-Class Lout.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Erik doesn't just want to rebel against the white men for the racism he had suffered in the past and get better treatment for black people. He wants to establish a new world order where he and Wakanda use their resources to subjugate all non-African descended people under their rule. T'Challa calls him out on it, pointing out that it makes him no different from the white colonists of the old days.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He claims he wants to liberate black people everywhere. However, given how he treats other black people himself, and ultimately how he harms Wakanda itself and mistreats its culture, it seems he's more interested in venting his pain and suffering unto other people. When T'Challa points out his plan will just lead to mass death and destruction, including for those he claims he wants to help, Killmonger shows no concern and makes it clear he just wants to get even with those who've wronged him.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: The Younger Villain against T'Challa and Zuri. Killmonger is implied to be younger than T'Challa, and he's perfectly willing to kill his cousin. He does kill Zuri when given the opportunity.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: After Killmonger burns the sacred Heart-Shaped Herbs that give Black Panthers their powers, Ross theorizes that he's subconsciously trying to make sure to destroy Wakandan civilisation on top of everyone else's due to his black-ops training. The point of his previous work wasn't to advance a cause but to leave easily-lootable rubble behind after the dust has settled, and now he's turned against the people who'd normally be doing the looting. T'Challa echoes this sentiment during their final fight.
  • One-Man Army: Ross says he was one of America's most potent soldiers, racking up kills in Afghanistan "like he was in a video game." He has kill marks scarred onto his arm for every person he's killed, and when he duels T'Challa, he takes off his shirt to reveal his whole body is covered in hundreds of those marks.
  • Oppose What You Suffered: Invoked and inverted. Erik has personally experienced racism and discrimination while growing up in the USA and now intends to save other Black people around the world from suffering similar fates by arming them with advanced vibranium weapons, at the very least ignoring and probably being fully aware that the people he arms will merely become the new oppressors in turn.
  • Outlaw Couple: He seems to be this with his girlfriend, with Klaue sarcastically comparing them to Bonnie and Clyde. Subverted — when he has to choose between her and his goals, he shoots her with zero remorse.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: His plan involves the forceful subjugation of all other countries, with Wakanda ruling them all. He also blames random white people for their ancestors' crimes. There's also some subtext in the way he treats women compared to Wakanda's egalitarian society, as he kills his girlfriend when she outlives her usefulness, strangles a female elder, and openly relishes both killing an incapacitated Dora Milaje and the prospect of killing Shuri when she's disarmed.
  • The Power of Hate: Erik hates the world and mainly everyone in it. As Okoye puts it, his heart is full of hatred. His hatred is his drive and where his power comes from the most. It all started when his own uncle killed his brother and left him to survive on his own. He had to train, lie, and kill just to get to T'Challa.
  • Princeling Rivalry: He and T'Challa, the son of the deceased king contest for the throne of Wakanda. T'Challa has no idea Killmonger even exists after his father has killed Killmonger's father, his own younger brother, and has covered it up. Killmonger challenges T'Challa to a ritualistic duel, nearly kills him, and seizes the throne. In the end, T'Challa returns, mortally wounds Killmonger, and reclaims his place as the rightful king.
  • Profiling: He accuses the museum staff of doing this to him, noting that they have reinforced security since he came. They turn out to be right, however: Erik was indeed going to rob the place along with Klaue.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Has a juvenile attitude about him, with little respect for authority, tradition, or others. Whenever he lashes out at people, he comes across as a bratty and rebellious teenager who's willing to use violence to get whatever it is he wants. His ultimate plan is also incredibly naive (giving black people dangerous foreign weapons and just expecting them to follow his orders and win) and T'Challa points out Erik's Evil Plan to wage war against the world from Wakanda will bring ruin to Wakanda as well. Further, when Erik meets with his father N'Jobu again in the spiritual plane and N'Jobu laments what his son became due to his death, Erik appears as a little boy, showing that he never grew past his horrible tragedy. When really pushed, he admits that he's lashing out at the entire world because his parents both died, an act of understandable but nonetheless very childish spite.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: He wears some specs as part of his tourist disguise during the museum heist, but takes them off by the time he gets smuggled into the ambulance.
  • Race Lift: He's a full-blooded Wakandan in the comics. This version's mother was an African-American woman of unknown ethnicity.
  • Rage Helm: The patterns on his Black Panther suit give the impression of a snarling panther baring its teeth.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Erik does this several times throughout the movie through his identifying Wakandan Vibranium tattoo and his father's royal ring.
  • Red Baron: Erik got the nickname "Killmonger" because of the sheer number of confirmed kills he got while a member of black-ops.
  • Related in the Adaptation: He is T'Challa and Shuri's cousin and the nephew of T'Chaka and Ramonda.
  • Ring on a Necklace: He wears a ring on a chain around his neck. The ring once belonged to his father, N'Jobu, and the only other ring like it belonged to King T'Chaka. Along with holding sentimental significance, the ring serves as proof that the orphaned Killmonger has royal blood.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He hated his uncle for killing his father and transferred that hatred to his cousin. In addition, he wants to rebel against the white men for the racism he had suffered in the past.
    Killmonger: I lived my entire life waiting for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed just to get here. I killed in America, Afghanistan, Iraq... [removes his tunic, revealing his extensive scarification.] I took life from my own brothers and sisters right here on this continent! And all this death, just so I could kill you!
  • Royal Blood: His father was the younger brother of the late king of Wakanda, and Erik aspires to take the throne from his heir T'Challa.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The Black Panther suit he dons is the gold version that T'Challa rejected for being too showy. Also relevant, the yellow tones of his suit are complementary to the purples on T'Challa's, meaning the two colors sit opposite each other on the color wheel, in this case further reflecting the adversarial relationship between the two princes.
    • Another recurring motif is his use/misuse of Wakandan/African culture and artifacts in pursuit of his own goals. He steals (with Klaue) an antique vibranium axehead and an unrelated ceremonial mask from a museum, for the purpose of selling the vibranium to the CIA and because it looked cool respectively. He uses his Wakandan tattoo from his father to gain access to the country, for entirely selfish reasons. During his ritual combat with T'Challa, he snaps off part of the staff for one of his weapons — a Wakandan spear — to make it easier to use, just as Klaue had earlier done with the axehead. After taking the throne, he orders the garden of the Heart-Shaped Herb burnt and begins mobilizing forces to arm splinter cells around the globe with Wakandan weaponry. All of this demonstrates that for all his knowledge of his Wakandan roots passed down through his father, he lacks his culture's respect for tradition and is prepared to use whatever tools at his disposal to fulfill his goals.
  • Scary Black Man: Adaptational Attractiveness aside, he is still a fierce fighter, and the fact his torso endured scarification adds a dash of Body Horror. As it turns out, this is pretty key to his motivation, too. He's basically a more developed Expy of singer-actor Leon's role Kynette from Cliffhanger except he's taking center-stage as the Big Bad then The Dragon.
  • Scary Teeth: Invoked with his Black Panther suit, which is covered in patterns shaped like razor-sharp jaws.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Many of the people he targets haven't wronged him personally. Rather, he's taking revenge on them on for what their ancestors (T'Challa's father) or people of the past from their group (the British colonists who took African artifacts to a UK museum) did.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: His initial outfit (as seen in the picture above) is pretty modest, but once he usurps T'Challa on the throne, he takes to wearing a loose robe with no shirt underneath (as opposed to T'Challa's stiffer, more conservative royal garb) in a clear invocation of this trope.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Black Panther/T'Challa. Their Origin Story both started with their father's murder by remorseful killers. T'Challa started off blind to the whole truth and relentlessly pursued Bucky, but gave up the quest for vengeance and remained good after hearing Zemo's confession and realizing the complexity of the issue. Erik, on the other hand, was left alone for over twenty years and spent that time plotting against the Wakandan royal family, never understanding the futility of revenge.
  • Short-Lived Leadership: His reign as king lasts only as long as it takes for T'Challa to fully heal from his wounds under the Jabari's protection. When he shows up alive to resume the challenge, he ultimately kills Killmonger and becomes king again.
  • Slasher Smile: Displays a visibly menacing one at times, notably during the final battle when he marks out Shuri and Nakia as his next kills and when he seemingly has T'Challa beaten. And quite literally, as he grins ear to ear while he slices open a Dora Mijale's throat in front of her friends.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Former member of the Navy SEALs and a thoroughly remorseless person.
  • The Starscream: Erik works under Klaue and aids his schemes of stealing vibranium just so he can kill Klaue himself and use his body as a means to get into Wakanda and fight T'Challa so he can become king. Turns out he was never loyal to Klaue in the first place.
  • Super Senses: Has good eyesight and can see Klaue even from a mile away which is what helps him to locate Klaue after the bearded baddie is left with nowhere to run, providing Killmonger the right opportunity to lodge a bullet into Klaue's shoulder.
  • Super Strength: After ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb, Killmonger possesses the strength to lift and toss a person with just one hand.
  • Straw Hypocrite: At first, his goal of ending the oppression of black people seems noble, but as the plot thickens, it’s clear that he just wants revenge on the world. This is made clear by the Hypocrisy he does.
  • Sword Pointing: When he sees Shuri and Nakia on the battlefield, he does this to mark them both out as his next targets.
  • Take Over the World: His goal is to supply every one of African descent in the world with Vibranium weapons to take down the governments to create a Wakanda-controlled world order with him as King.
    Killmonger: The sun will never set on the Wakandan empire.
  • Tempting Fate: "This is it for you, cousin."
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Discussed within the movie. While Erik ostensibly has a very strong cause, several characters point out that he's still acting like a CIA wetworker, using ideology as a mask for chaos and destruction so his masters can move in and asset-strip the ruins. Literally and metaphorically burning down the governing structure of Wakanda isn't very useful for advancing black imperialism, for instance. The catch, of course, is that he's turned against those masters, so he's just leaving ruins without a purpose beyond his hollow, empty ideology.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Seth Carr and Michael B. Jordan played child and adult Erik Killmonger, respectively.
  • Tragic Villain: He was turned into the man he is today when King T'Chaka killed his father N'Jobu and abandoned him in order to preserve Wakanda's isolationism. The bitterness, hatred and craving for revenge stemming from this event lead him to many acts of villainy and ultimately to his own death.
  • The Unfettered: Erik will do anything to get to his goals. Anything. An example is how he handles his two allies: When Klaue is holding Erik's lover hostage, he just shoots them both — his lover because she was unimportant, and Klaue because he was a means to an end. He unflinchingly makes split-second, violent decisions with no remorse, all for the sake of reaching his goal. And, as he says in this section's quote — all the killing and lying he did was so he could reach this point.
  • Unknown Rival: Spends most of the movie as this. He trained his entire life to one day take the throne of Wakanda from the king, but T'Challa was completely unaware of his true nature until he spotted Erik with a royal ring and had his backstory explained to him by Zuri.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: From what we see in flashbacks, Erik was a curious boy who loved listening to his father's stories about Wakanda and playing basketball with his friends. When Erik meets N'Jobu on the spiritual plane, he appears as a kid again, clearly grieving his father's loss even in his adulthood.
  • The Usurper: He's described as an "aspiring prince," and seeks to overthrow T'Challa. He temporarily succeeds after defeating him to near death in combat, but because of the combat rules, his reign is never technically legitimate.
  • Villain Ball: Throws T'Challa down a waterfall instead of killing him with his weapons or bare hands. This gives his enemy a chance to come back in the film's third act. Though it's also a Mythology Gag to their first battle in the comics.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • Killmonger correctly states to the museum guide that the African artifacts on the exhibit were stolen.
    • In-Universe. Erik Killmonger, much like his father N'Jobu, argues that Wakanda is in many ways complicit in the suffering of Africans in other countries, as it has selfishly withheld access to its advanced technology and refused to intervene to assist them. At the film's end, T'Challa agrees he has a point but was wrong in his methods and execution, and thus begins a program of creating outreach centers in African minority communities so that they can start using their technology to peacefully help them.
    • Also in Real Life. His points about the black elite helping the poor communities are a relatively common argument within the community, just without killing all white people.
  • Villainous Underdog: Erik grew up in poverty, faced racial discrimination in America, and lost both of his parents as a child. In contrast, T'Challa was born into a life of wealth and privilege, has the backing of his family, and also has access to the Black Panther's powers by natural birthright.
  • Villainous Valor: When his Black Panther suit gets de-powered during the final battle with T'Challa, he proclaims he doesn't need a suit to kill him and after getting defeated and mortally wounded, he chooses to Face Death with Dignity rather than to accept medical attention and then be imprisoned for the rest of his life like his mother.
  • Visionary Villain: Has a clear vision of the future where Wakanda becomes the sole superpower in the world after spearheading a worldwide uprising of black people.
  • Warrior Prince: The first cousin to the current King of Wakanda and a former black-ops soldier turned mercenary.
  • Wicked Pretentious: He knows the history of the museum artifacts and has extensive knowledge of African and Wakandan history as well as their traditions and ancient artifacts, but he doesn’t really care about them. He only ever uses his knowledge of these if it helps benefit his Evil Plan and as noted in Hypocrite, he has no problem misusing and stealing them as the British did centuries ago.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Downplayed: according to the actor himself, his costume is a reference to Vegeta.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He lost both his parents when he was just a child, and grew up surrounded by racism and classism while knowing the truth about Wakanda and that the nation was refusing to help people like him. In his final battle with T'Challa, he states the world took everything from him and he wants to get even.
  • Worthy Opponent: He seems to regard T'Challa as this by the end of the film. When their final battle ends in T'Challa's swift and cunning victory, Killmonger concedes defeat and looks at him as an equal.
    Killmonger: (surprised and impressed) Hell of a move.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Shows zero restraint against women; not even unarmed older women are safe from a Neck Lift if they inconvenience him in any way. During the climactic battle, he gleefully kills a defeated warrior of the Dora Milaje and tries to outright kill Shuri after he's disarmed her, and would've succeeded if not for T'Challa's intervention.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When talking about his plans after taking the Wakandan throne, he says that the children of the oppressors must also be killed. In a more direct example, he also has no qualms about fighting Shuri and would have likely killed her had T'Challa not intervened.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Grew up in the slums of Oakland, which hardened him into the person he is by the time the movie takes place.
  • You Are What You Hate: T'Challa lambasts him for becoming as much a cruel, thieving bully as his racist oppressors and Okoye says his heart is full of hatred, his end goal is accomplishing nothing but needless misery and death.
  • You Killed My Father: Or rather, your father killed my father. Erik wants revenge on T'Challa because T'Chaka killed his father and left him behind in a life of poverty.


    Prince Killmonger 

Lt. Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, US Navy / Prince N'Jadaka / Black Panther
"For vengeance. For my father. And for all my brothers and sisters who suffered through oppression while you just sat back and watched."
Click here to see him in the Season 1 finale 

Species: Enhanced human

Citizenship: Wakandan-American

Affiliation(s): US Navy (formerly), Ten Rings (formerly), Stark Industries (formerly), Guardians of the Multiverse

Voiced By: Michael B. Jordan

Appearances: What If…?

On Earth-32938, Killmonger saved Tony Stark from the attempt on his life in Afghanistan, which led to him becoming the new Black Panther and Prince of Wakanda.

  • Adaptational Intelligence: This Killmonger is more mature and cunning than his emotionally-driven Sacred Timeline counterpart, prioritizing a false flag operation over a naked, revenge-induced coup. It's also revealed that he personally designed the Liberator drone for a military thesis and is shown to be very skillful in making machines with Tony, something that his Sacred Timeline counterpart is not known for. The result is a very successful villain.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: He is at least nicer than he was in his appearance in Black Panther. He comes off as less bitter overall and expresses sorrow when killing T'Challa, rather than the rage he displayed at the waterfalls battle. Additionally, he somewhat laments having to kill Tony, whereas in the film he was never openly regretful about anyone he'd killed.
  • Alternate Self: To the Killmonger of the Sacred Timeline, who successfully became the new Black Panther after manipulating Wakanda and the U.S. Military.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards is Awesome: Not only did this version of Killmonger succeed in achieving his goal after becoming the new Black Panther and earning the trust of King T'Chaka, but he achieved all of it several years before his Sacred Timeline counterpart attempted his plan.
  • And I Must Scream: At the end of the Season 1 finale, Erik and Zola are trapped in a neverending battle for the Infinity Stones inside of a pocket dimension Strange Supreme creates. With Strange promising the Watcher to observe them for all of eternity, the chances of Erik getting free are precisely zero.
  • Apologetic Attacker: He tells Tony, after having stabbed him, that he had hoped his plan would not have had to include that.
  • Arc Villain: The Villain Protagonist of "What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?".
  • The Bad Guy Wins: With Stark's technology and connection to the military, Killmonger successfully executes a False Flag Operation to provoke the U.S. and Wakanda into war. Then he "defects" to Wakanda and gains the trust of T'Chaka by defending the country from the U.S. drones that he designed himself, enabling him to not only become the next Black Panther but also the heir to the throne of Wakanda legitimately. And, with Wakanda wishing to avenge T'Challa, Killmonger is able to proceed with his plan for Wakandan imperialism. However, the season 1 finale shows that he was close to being taken down and arrested by Shuri, Pepper, and the Dora Milaje when the Watcher recruits him. And at the end of the episode, he is trapped in a struggle against Zola for the Infinity Stones for the end of times thanks to Strange Supreme.
  • The Chessmaster: This version of Killmonger plays everyone like a fiddle, from Tony Stark to Wakandan royalty to the U.S. military. He enacts a False Flag Operation, using innocent lives as his pawns, and ultimately manages to have himself made Black Panther legitimately through Engineered Heroics in Wakanda.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • Erik betrays nearly everyone he works with in his universe. He sets up a Vibranium deal with Rhodes as an intermediary, only to kill him and lay the blame at Wakanda's feet; he exploits Stark's resources for his personal vendetta and murders him when he gets wise; he betrays the United States by dragging them into a war on false pretenses and defecting to Wakanda; he collaborates with Klaue to orchestrate his war and then murders him as a loose end; he forces Wakandan soldiers to fight an unnecessary battle against American drones to worm his way onto the throne.
    • Attempts this in the Season 1 finale, trying to use the Infinity Stones for his own desires. Unfortunately thanks to Arnim Zola interfering, Strange Supreme is able to take advantage of Erik being distracted and traps both of them in a pocket dimension never able to see the light of day again.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: He may be plotting to betray everyone for his own means, but he still fully participates in the battle against Infinity Ultron since he can’t take power in a multiverse destroyed by Ultron. Much like Zola, his cause is worthless with Ultron threatening the annihilation of everything. It's only fitting that the two villains end up at each other’s throats only to be sealed away after Ultron’s defeat.
  • False Flag Operation: He has Klaue steal a Dora Milaje's spear, knowing that it will lure T'Challa into a U.S. diplomatic negotiation for the Vibranium. The conflict ends up killing both Rhodey and T'Challa and Killmonger implicates the U.S. to be the aggressor to anger Wakanda into war. Then he murders Tony Stark with the Dora Milaje's spear to implicate Wakanda being behind the assassination, provoking the U.S. into war as well.
  • False Friend: He aligns himself with Tony, Klaue and T'Chaka. In two out of three of those instances, he turns his back on and kills them once his plans call for it.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Treachery and a lust for power. The only loyalty he has is to himself and he will only endear himself to others to further his own ends, these connections ending the second it's expedient to do so. And the instant he sees a way to benefit himself he will take it without hesitation. This leads to him reaching his Karma Houdini Warranty in the finale, twice over. He winds up exposed in his world, with the nation of Wakanda and possibly the United States military out for his blood. Uatu's intervention spares him from that but he takes advantage of the situation to try and get the Infinity Stones for himself. When he does he wastes his time trying to convince his teammates to side with him, giving Zola in Ultron's body the chance to start a tug of war over the Stones. And while those two are distracted they wind up locked away in a pocket universe, watched over by Strange Supreme. Killmonger set himself up for a scenario with no escape because he couldn't ignore the chance to give himself more power.
    • Overconfidence. He's incredibly good at winning people over to get them and the resources they have on his side, but he overestimates just how skilled he is at playing people. He pulls off an almost perfect frame job with Rhodey's death only to run up against an enraged Tony, who looked further into things. It's also part of what seals his fate in the season finale. He obtains the Infinity Stones from Ultron but instead of attacking the other Guardians, he tries to win them over to his side. This gives Zola enough time to gain control over Ultron's body, starting a tug of war over the Stones that allows both of them to be sealed away.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He acts nice and approachable to Tony and later T’Chaka. However, it’s an act to manipulate them for his purposes, even using the words that he knows will have an effect on them.
  • Foil: To Rhodey. Both are African-Americans who serve in the United States military and have dealt with racism during their lives. The difference is Rhodey is genuinely loyal to the United States government and believes it can be reformed to better serve African-Americans, while Killmonger only joined the military as a means to an end and believes the only way to end African-Americans' suffering is by destroying the government.
  • For Want of a Nail: Killmonger's timely rescue ensures that the age of Iron Man (and all the heroics that come with it) never came to pass, as Tony developed neither the technology nor the moral heart to become the man of the Sacred Timeline. It's heavily implied that the exact nail isn't Erik saving Stark but rather N'Jobu dying unexpectedly in a gang war instead of at T'Chaka's claws, resulting in a more mature but still evil Killmonger who immediately saw Stark's war profiteering greed as the best way to take over Wakanda.
  • Genius Bruiser: Has all the same academic credentials of his Sacred Timeline counterpart, with the added details of adaptive long-term planning to manipulate multiple parties and a doctoral thesis detailing an autonomous humanoid drone powered by Vibranium.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After getting away with practically everything in his home universe, Killmonger bites off a little more than he can chew after defeating Ultron by trying to take the Infinity Stones for himself. This gets him and Arnim Zola trapped in a pocket dimension of Strange Supreme's creation, ensuring he can never harm anyone else ever again. Plus he was about to be arrested by the Dora Milaje, Shuri and Pepper.
  • Kill Tally: Much like his Sacred Timeline self, he has numerous scars all over his body for each kill he made. He adds one more after he kills Tony.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He plays both the United States and Wakanda like a fiddle, murdering important figures on both sides like Tony Stark and T'Challa and implicating the other respective country for the murders, pushing the two nations to war. Using this engineered situation, Killmonger is able to gain T'Chaka's trust and blessing to become the new Black Panther.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Had Erik not stopped to try to convince his fellow Guardians to join him in using the Infinity Stones for their own desires, he could've conceivably escaped and started using the completed set for his own villainous agenda. But because he does, it gives Zola enough time to gain full autonomy over Ultron and attempt to claim the stones for himself, which distracts Killmonger long enough for Strange Supreme to seal both of them in a can for all of eternity.
  • Not So Similar: Basically what he tells Tony when he is about to kill him and Tony compares their similar desires to live up to their father's legacies. He's actually right though not in the way he thinks as even this version of Tony, who had an Ignored Epiphany and never became Iron Man, is still a better person than Killmonger and cares about his friends while Killmonger cares about nobody but his goals.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: As in the film, he claims everything he does in his debut episode was for his agenda of liberating black people. This includes murdering Rhodey, a fellow black man who has worked for civil rights in his own way. In the season finale, he takes the Infinity Stones from Ultron and tries to convince the others to undo the damage in their multiverse, but given his previous behavior it's almost certain he's lying to them.
  • Occidental Otaku: Admits to Tony that he's an anime fan, and his drones were visually inspired by mecha anime.
  • Pet the Dog: After he acquires the Infinity Stones, he has all the power he needs, can do whatever he wants and can kill his teammates if he wants to. But he still offers them a chance to use the Stones with him to improve their own worlds as well as his, only deciding to kill them when they refuse.
  • Post-Final Boss: He is one of the final villains opposed in Season 1 of What If after Infinity Ultron is defeated, sharing this role with Zola. The two attempt to take the Infinity Stones for themselves, but Strange Supreme traps them in a pocket dimension for all eternity.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: What truly separates him from his Sacred Timeline counterpart is that he only kills when necessary, even saying he hoped it didn’t come to it. This is not out of the kindness from his heart, but rather to make his seizure of power in Wakanda be both legal and widely accepted by the Wakandan people.
  • The Quiet One: Surprisingly is this to the Guardians of the Multiverse, rarely uttering a word as his teammates are shooting the shit with each other while preparing to fight Infinite Ultron. Gamora and Thor notice this and lampshade it, pointing out how suspicious it makes him, along with him tampering with an Ultron head.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Arnim Zola (in Ultron's body) and Eric Killmonger (wearing Ultron's armor) end up trapped inside a temporally-displaced pocket dimension, frozen in the midst of their cataclysmic and equally-matched struggle over the infinity stones. The time bubble is left in the care of Strange Supreme in his dead universe, with the Watcher warning him of the chaos that would unfold if the two ever get out.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: His ultimate fate is being sealed in a pocket dimension with Arnim Zola, fighting over the Infinity Stones for all eternity.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: He ends up trapped alongside Zola as they fight over the infinity stones instead of being killed.
  • Token Evil Teammate: He serves this role for Guardians of the Multiverse as not only is he the only villain on the team but he ultimately betrays them when he tries to use Infinity Stones for himself.
  • Villain Has a Point: Being perceptive as he is, he does have his moments. The biggest comes when he tries to convince his fellow Guardians to use the stones for themselves, given the number of worlds with terrible destruction that can't be undone otherwise. Given The Watcher returns to his oath of non-interference and refuses to fix any of the damage caused by Ultron, Erik's right.
  • Villain Protagonist: He's the point of focus for Episode 6, and he's still the same backstabbing, selfish killer he was in the Sacred Timeline.
  • Villain Respect: After dealing Tony a fatal blow, he reassures him that he wishes it never came to that, with earnestness supported by him gaining nothing from expressing the sentiment. This is also the most remorse he's expressed for killing at any point in any continuity of the MCU.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Killmonger is celebrated as the war hero who saved Tony Stark’s life and when he defects, he is celebrated by Wakanda and becomes the new Black Panther.
  • Younger and Hipper: A downplayed example, but his story does take place in 2009 which is several years before his appearance in Black Panther in 2016.


Video Example(s):


Killmonger was Right?

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Main / VillainHasAPoint

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