Erik Killmonger is probably the greatest Black Panther villain in the pages of T'Challa's comic adventures, and you likely hadn't heard of him until the King of Wakanda got his first standalone movie. As such, there are almost certainly a plethora of things you didn't know about Killmonger. That ends today. This list aims to teach you everything there is to know about Marvel's Killmonger along with some fascinating Black Panther trivia.
With Michael B. Jordan's breathtaking performance as the tragic villain N'Jadaka AKA Killmonger in Black Panther, this character has become the talk of the whole world. While some of these interesting facts about Killmonger may be slightly disturbing, it's nothing compared to the most disturbing things Black Panther himself has done. Be warned, there are spoilers for both the comics and the Black Panther movie ahead.
His Real Name Is N'Jadaka, And He Is Wakandan
After his father is pressed into service by Klaw in one of his many attacks on Wakanda, N'Jadaka and his family are exiled by King T'Chaka. Eventually, his father dies in Klaw's service, putting N'Jadaka on a dark path as he grows up in Harlem, NY (the film changes his location to Oakland, CA). He changes his name to Erik Killmonger and goes on to earn an MBA at M.I.T. and a PhD in Engineering, all in service of his ultimate goal of avenging his father. He eventually returns to Wakanda as an adult to pursue this vengeance and what he believes is his rightful throne.
Killmonger Is Essentially A Tragic Anti-T'Challa
Both T'Challa and Erik Killmonger's fathers are killed by Klaw in the comics. These parallel events drive the two men onward but in very different directions. This instills a burning hatred in Killmonger not only for Klaw, but also for Wakanda's king; he cites the weakness of his sovereign nation as the reason his father became so wrapped up with Klaw.
Beyond that, the two are intellectual equals. Killmonger studies at M.I.T., while T'Challa studies at numerous universities in both Europe and America. Their physical traits also mirror one another; they have similar physiques and fighting styles, which ensures their contests are always hard-fought.
T'Challa Repatriates Killmonger To Wakanda In The ComicsPhoto: Marvel Comics
In the comics, Killmonger meets King T'Challa in New York while the Black Panther is there working with the Avengers. Feigning remorse for his father's "betrayal" of the nation, Killmonger asks T'Challa to repatriate him to Wakanda. Recognizing N'Jadaka's family may have been unfairly forced out by his father, T'Challa gladly acquiesces, and Killmonger settles in a village outside of central Wakanda where his influence begins to grow. Indeed, this village is soon known as N'Jadaka Village, and the people look to Killmonger as their leader. Killmonger eventually leads them in rebellion against King T'Challa. Killmonger and T'Challa's first clash takes place in this village when the king is forced to invade to put down the brewing insurrection.
Killmonger Throws Down T'Challa In Their First FightPhoto: Marvel Comics
After Killmonger returns to Wakanda and starts brewing up trouble, it isn't long before he attracts Black Panther's attention by harrying various villages around the nation's capital. Black Panther comes out to put a stop to it, but while he is distracted by Killmonger's leopard Preyy, Killmonger is able to surprise T'Challa, grabbing him and throwing him off a waterfall. Yes, this first meeting was mirrored in the film, but in the source material it was not a ritual battle for the throne. That comes later.