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"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!"
―Erik Killmonger to T'Challa[src]

Erik Stevens (born N'Jadaka) was a former American black-ops soldier of Wakandan origin through his father, Prince N'Jobu. His savagery while serving in the US black-ops earned him the nickname Erik Killmonger. Years after T'Chaka killed his father for betraying Wakanda, Killmonger then planned to forcibly dethrone T'Challa in order to accomplish his father's plan to seize control of the world with Wakanda's technology and stop what they perceived to be the oppression of people of African descent by the world.

Manipulating and then killing Ulysses Klaue to gain access to their city, Killmonger seemingly killed T'Challa during ritual combat and taking the throne, but just before Killmonger unleashed his plan as King of Wakanda to distribute Wakanda's weapons across the world, the Black Panther had returned and challenged Killmonger, eventually killing him in their final battle. His death however eventually convinced T'Challa to openly reveal Wakanda and share their resources to the rest of the world.

Biography

Early Life

Living in America

Erik Stevens, born N'Jadaka, was the son of Prince N'Jobu and an unknown woman. Raising his son in America, Stevens' father nevertheless promised the young boy that he would one day show him Wakanda, claiming that the sunsets there were the most beautiful in the world.[3]

Death of his Father

"I found my daddy with panther claws in his chest! You ain't the son of a king, you're the son of a murderer!"
―Erik Killmonger[src]

The night his father was killed by his uncle King T'Chaka, Stevens was playing basketball with his friends when he spotted a Royal Talon Flyer above their apartment complex and rushed inside, where he found his father, dead. Stevens held his father's body and cried, before recovering his father's diary.[3]

Seeking Revenge

Becoming the Killmonger

"Erik Stevens. Graduated Annapolis aged nineteen, MIT for grad school. Joined the SEALs and went straight to Afghanistan, where he racked up confirmed kills like it was a video game. Started calling himself Killmonger. He joined a JSOC ghost unit, now these guys are serious, they would drop off the grid so they could commit assassinations and take down governments."
Everett Ross[src]

Stevens started out as a Navy SEAL and was eventually recruited into a CIA Ghost unit, as a Black ops mercenary. While in the United States Armed Forces, Killmonger would cut his skin with tribal Crocodile Scarring, with one for each kill, claiming that he has killed in the United States of America, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. Due to his savagery while serving in the Armed Forces, Stevens gained the nickname Killmonger.[3]

Working with Ulysses Klaue

Black Panther (film) 67

Killmonger working alongside Ulysses Klaue

"Why didn't you just shoot him right here?"
"Because it's better to leave the crime scene more spread out. Makes us look like amateurs. Now then, let's see if you know what you're talking about."
―Erik Killmonger and Ulysses Klaue[src]

Killmonger struck a deal with Ulysses Klaue when he had found a Wakandan weapon made of Vibranium within the Museum of Great Britain and, with his group, helped Klaue steal the weapon. Klaue would later go to attempt to sell the weapon to Agent Everett Ross in South Korea. However, T'Challa, along with Okoye and Nakia intervened on their hunt for Klaue. When the Wakandans finally managed to capture Klaue after thirty years of pursuit, Killmonger and his group saved the arms dealer.[3]

Rescue of Ulysses Klaue

Black Panther OCT17 Trailer 34

Killmonger prepares to rescue Ulysses Klaue

Killmonger set up explosives on the wall of the room of where Ulysses Klaue was currently being held. When he blew the wall up, Killmonger began firing a gun at everyone present, wounding Everett Ross in the process by shooting him in the spine as Ross tried to protect Nakia. When Black Panther went to prevent Killmonger from rescuing Klaue, Killmonger managed to defeat him by shooting him with a grenade launcher. During the short fight, the Wakandan Royal Ring belonging to his father N'Jobu, which Killmonger kept on a chain, dangled around his neck. T'Challa noticed the ring, as the ring belonging to the King of Wakanda was an identical one.[3]

Meeting T'Challa

Black Panther (film) 103

Killmonger demands to be brought to T'Challa

"I'm exercising my blood right. I challenge for the mantle of king and Black Panther!"
―Erik Killmonger[src]

Even though Killmonger had worked with Ulysses Klaue and had also rescued him, he ended up shooting and killing him in order to at least try to gain the trust of the Wakandans. Killmonger brought Klaue's body to Wakanda and presented it to W'Kabi. W'Kabi, already disappointed with T'Challa for not managing to bring Klaue to justice for his crimes, brought Killmonger to the King and his council.

BP EW 12

Killmonger challenges T'Challa for the throne

Killmonger began taunting T'Challa upon first meeting him. He then said that he wanted to be King of Wakanda, and revealed his true identity in anger when T'Challa ordered him to be removed after T'Challa had told Killmonger that the only reason he was still alive was because he knew who Killmonger truly was. Killmonger then challenged T'Challa to a duel, one which T'Challa accepted.[3]

Duel for the Throne

BP EW 3

Killmonger furiously battles against T'Challa

Before the duel began at the Warrior Falls, Killmonger took his shirt off, bearing his scars, stating that each scar stood for a life he had taken, lives in the United States of America, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. It was obvious that Killmonger had the upper hand in the fight, as the duel required the Black Panther to be stripped from his powers in order for the duel to be fair. While T'Challa managed to cut Killmonger, he still lost. Killmonger gravely wounded T'Challa, cutting his thigh and his stomach. Before he went to give the killing blow, Zuri stopped him. Zuri, having been sent by T'Challa's father, King T'Chaka to America to keep an eye on Killmonger's father N'Jobu and had been there during Killmonger's childhood, begged Killmonger to take his life and spare T'Challa, telling Killmonger the truth of his father's death.

BP Teaser Trailer 51

Killmonger outmatches T'Challa in combat

N'Jobu had pointed a gun at Zuri, and T'Chaka had killed him. Killmonger killed Zuri, calling him "Uncle James", and T'Challa screamed in despair. Killmonger went on to punch the King, mocking him and the fact that he was too weak to be King without the powers of the Black Panther. In the end, Erik picked T'Challa up on his shoulders and threw him down to his death.[3]

King of Wakanda

Burning the Herb Garden

Black Panther OCT17 Trailer 47

Killmonger has the herb gardens burned down

"Burn it all!"
"But my king, we cannot. This is Wakandan tradition for centuries."
"When I say something needs to be done, I mean that shit.""
―Erik Killmonger, threatening the Shaman[src]

As per tradition, Killmonger underwent the ritual all Kings of Wakanda must go through by drinking the fluid of the Heart-Shaped Herb and speaking with his father's spirit within the Astral Dimension, becoming the Black Panther. After this, Killmonger ordered the herb garden to be burned, going as far as to lift a woman by the throat when she objected by saying that it was a sacred tradition to keep a reserve of Heart-Shaped Herb for the King's successor.[3]

Battle of Mount Bashenga

Black Panther OCT17 Trailer 56

Killmonger remarks on Black Panther's return

Killmonger, now the king of Wakanda and supported by W'Kabi and his army, prepared shipments of Wakandan weapons to be distributed to operatives around the world, so they may spread it to other people of African descent so that they may fight back against their oppressors, as was his father's plan. Overseeing the ships leaving Wakanda, he sees one of them shot down by T'Challa, making his return as Black Panther. Killmonger orders W'Kabi and his army against T'Challa, but he blasts them away with his kinetic energy. Enraged at Killmonger's evil nature, Okoye and a few of her warriors got ready to attack Killmonger, who reveals he has taken one of the upgraded Habits for his own use. During the fight, Nakia and Shuri join Okoye as they fight Killmonger.[3]

Duel in the Great Mound

Black Panther OCT17 Trailer 60

Erik Killmonger battles Black Panther.

With M'Baku and the Jabari tribe arriving to help the fight, T'Challa focuses his attention on Killmonger, who is about to hurt Shuri. Before he can, T'Challa tackles him and they fall down into the vibranium mines. There, they continue their fight, evenly matched, until T'Challa has Shuri utilize the mag-lev train's sonic stabilizers to disrupt the Vibranium technology in his and Killmonger's suits, leaving him exposed so that T'Challa may impale him with his own short spear.[3]

Choosing to Die

"Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage."
―Erik Killmonger to Black Panther[src]

T'Challa sat down next to Killmonger, who complimented him on the move. He explained that his father stated that Wakanda was the most beautiful place on Earth. Saddened, T'Challa drags Killmonger outside the Great Mound to watch the sunset. T'Challa told Killmonger that Shuri could heal the wound that he inflicted on him. Killmonger declines the offer, stating that when his ancestors were brought over to America on boats, they jumped out and drowned in the sea, as they knew it was better to die that way than it was to be imprisoned. Killmonger asked to be buried at sea, choosing instead to die free by removing the spearhead from his body and bleeding out.[3]

Personality

This section needs a rewrite
"Y'all're sitting up here all comfortable. Must feel good. There's about two billion people around the world who look like us and their lives are a lot harder. Wakanda has the tools to liberate them all."
"And what tools are those?"
"Vibranium, your weapons."
"Our weapons will not be used to wage war on the world. It is not our way to be judge, jury and executioner for people who aren't our own."
"Not your own? Didn't life start here on this continent? So ain't all people your people?"
―Erik Killmonger and Black Panther[src]

The defining character trait of Erik Stevens, born N’Jadaka and commonly known as Killmonger, was a deep hatred for injustices inflicted on those of African descent and himself. This hatred rarely manifested in rage but instead as an always burning fire that was barely hidden behind his relaxed and informal demeanor.

Before the death of his father, N’Jobu, Killmonger lived a normal life in Oakland, California. From an early age, he was raised by his father to be angry at the conditions that Africans around the world endured while Wakanda, which had the power to change those conditions, stood in isolation. N’Jobu believed that these conditions could be solved through military force and Wakanda's superior technology, a belief that Killmonger took to heart.  

After the murder of his father by his uncle, T'Chaka, he developed a deep-seated grudge against the Wakandan royal family and a strong desire for revenge. When he was abandoned, Killmonger came to feel that he and his father were abandoned not for their sins but because Wakanda was too flawed to see the truth they already knew.

Killmonger then dedicated his life to destroying the organizations that had oppressed Africans, making Africans the Apex ethnicity on Earth through superior Wakandan technology, destroying the current regime of Wakanda that wronged his family, and avenging his father's death.

To begin, Killmonger studied the history of African oppression around the world. Not only the history of colonization, slavery and inequality, but also the tactics employed by the oppressive powers, essentially enough to teach a whole university course on the history of African oppression. He studied to understand every wrong suffered by Africans and learn how to break the oppressors with their own tactics.

As an adult, Killmonger became a career soldier to learn military tactics and the physical abilities needed to do so. Killing others became second nature to him, to the point of ritualistically marking himself to represent each of his victims. He also developed a high degree of cunning and charisma, shown by using Ulysses Klaue's corpse to earn passage into Wakanda, then provoking T'Challa and the Wakandan tribal leaders into asking for his true identity.

Destabilizing governmental organizations also became second nature to Killmonger, as demonstrated by his actions as king of Wakanda. Killmonger did not overtly admit to wanting to destroy Wakanda, but Everett Ross aptly observed that, during his tenure as king, Killmonger was consciously or unconsciously following his textbook training on how to bring down a governing body: Kill the leader and then destroy the government's power resources, chiefly key means of ascension to or succession of power. These same actions show a degree of folly in Killmonger's mentality as he cannot create a new world order by simultaneously destroying the head of that new order.

Killmonger trained his whole life to right the wrongs against him and his race, but his goal was always doomed to fail due to his sociopathic nature. Killmonger made no efforts to connect with those he fought for, the Wakandans he came to rule, or even his own blood family. Instead, he was fully prepared to kill or sacrifice them all for his cause without emotion.  

Further illustrating this flaw, Killmonger was only shown to have two positive relationships and even those were deeply flawed. He shared a sexually passionate relationship with his partner in crime, Linda, but no emotional attachment. This was proven when he dispassionately murdered her as soon as she became a hostage of Ulysses Klaue--a liability to his cause.  

Killmonger idolized his father and was determined to fulfill his dream of returning to his home country. After his father's murder, however, even this positive relationship was twisted into yet another source of hatred. Taking all of this into account, Killmonger was a man with only hatred in his heart. In his perspective, he had learned the worst of his enemies to end their evil, but he was instead constantly inflicting his tainted knowledge on everyone around him.

Therefore, despite his actions and claims of noble ultimate intentions, unlike his father whose radical acts were motivated by compassion, Killmonger's were motivated almost solely by hatred, seeing all that he had done and will do, as mainly revenge against a world that took everything from him. Killmonger's corruption of his father's ideals made him a man of pure destruction, and a clear and present danger to the whole world during his tenure as king of Wakanda.

For all his faults, Killmonger made it clear that Wakanda could no longer remain absent from the wider world's problems. During his stay in Wakanda, Killmonger made real moves to bring Wakanda to the wider world, attracting supporters like W'Kabi, who were frustrated with the country's failings resulting from inaction. T'Challa learned from his cousin's grievances about how Africans around the world were treated and from his cousin's own corruption. Wakanda must become more involved with the wider world or more evil, like Killmonger, would be produced. Killmonger set in motion a Wakanda that would step out into the world, either as an apocalyptic conqueror if he should remain king or as a great force of peace should T'Challa reclaim the throne. Killmonger's legacy was a terrible civil war, but also a new Wakanda ruled by a wiser T'Challa.

Killmonger was brave in death and would rather die than be enslaved as so many Africans had been in the past, despite the fact that the world at large had moved beyond and rejected slavery, and that he himself was never truly enslaved in any way. As tainted as Killmonger's heart was, he still could at least find beauty in a Wakandan sunset, which his father had told him about when he was a boy.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Heart-Shaped Herb Enhancement: After having consumed the 'Heart-Shaped Herb', Killmonger's physical attributes have been greatly enhanced to levels comparable to a super soldier. These powers are long-lasting, at least until the user drinks a serum to negate the powers of the herbs for a trial combat for a fair fight to become King of Wakanda.
    • Enhanced Strength: Killmonger's strength is tremendously enhanced beyond the peak of human potential, moving into the early levels of superhuman condition. He is strong enough to effortlessly lift humans high above his head with one arm, as well as send others flying with his strikes.
    • Enhanced Speed: Killmonger can run and move at speeds beyond the peak of human potential, moving into the early levels of superhuman condition.
    • Enhanced Stamina: Killmonger's musculature produces fewer fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of an ordinary human. Killmonger's body eliminates the excessive build-up of fatigue-producing chemicals in his muscles, granting him exceptional endurance and lung capacity, greater than of normal humans.
    • Enhanced Durability: Killmonger is much more durable than a normal human being. Even when not wearing his Panther Habit, he can survive immense blunt force trauma.
    • Enhanced Agility: Killmonger's agility is outstanding, far greater than Olympic athletes. He can coordinate his body with perfect balance, equilibrium, flexibility, and dexterity. His movements are akin to an actual panther, being capable of crawl and climb through walls and leap great distances with accuracy.
    • Enhanced Reflexes: Killmonger's reflexes are are beyond human potential and superior to those of the finest athlete.
    • Enhanced Instincts: The Heart Shaped Herb enhances Killmongers instincts, allowing him to processes the world in a more efficient manner to find solutions using his sense and strategies, at an accelerated rate.

Abilities

  • Master Martial Artist: Due to his rigorous black ops and SEAL training, as well as likely further self-training, Erik was an extremely accomplished martial artist. He was skilled enough to be able to defeat T'Challa, a highly trained and proficient combatant whose skill rivalled that of the Winter Soldier's, in their first duel where T'Challa and him had no powers, and stalemated him in their last altercation when they both were on their Panther Habits.
  • Master Swordsman: Killmonger was able to wield Wakandan swords and similar bladed weapons with great skill. His skill with a sword allowed him to defeat T'Challa in their duel for the throne.
  • Expert Marksman: As a former American black-ops mercenary, Killmonger was incredibly accurate with firearms. He was able to wield both high caliber assault rifles, as well as handguns with great accuracy.
  • Master Tactician: Killmonger was a masterful strategist, able to formulate and execute highly strategic plans.
  • Master Assassin: Due to his intensive experience as a Navy SEAL and mercenary in an American Black Ops Ghost unit, Killmonger is highly skilled in assassination techniques, as well as espionage, intelligence gathering, infiltration, and sabotage. He gained the nickname "Killmonger" due to his substantial kill-count.
  • Master Acrobat: Being immensely agile, Killmonger is a master gymnast and acrobat, which allowed him to combat Black Panther on equal grounds.

Equipment

This section requires expansion
"I want your weapons, your secrets, it’s all mine now."
―Erik Killmonger[src]
"You're not telling me that that's Vibranium too, are you?"
"Nah, I'm just feeling it."
Ulysses Klaue and Erik Killmonger regarding the ceremonial mask[src]
  • Mask: Killmonger stole a ceremonial mask that he could use to conceal his identity.
BP Teaser Trailer 30
  • Daniel Defense DDM4 MK18: Killmonger wielded the assault rifle when helping Klaue escape from questioning.
  • Wakandan Sword
  • Wakandan Short-Spear: Killmonger wielded a spear that he had broken down to the size of a small blade, which he wielded as a knife-like weapon.

Relationships

Family

Allies

Enemies

Trivia

  • In the comics, Erik Killmonger, originally known as N'Jadaka, was a Wakandan native who was exiled after his father was forced to work for Ulysses Klaue and attempted to overthrow T'Challa from the throne upon his return.
  • Killmonger's scarification markings on his chest and torso resemble that of the Mursi and Surma tribes.

Behind the Scenes

References

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki has a collection of images and media related to Erik Killmonger.
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki has a collection of quotes related to Erik Killmonger.
Preceded by:
T'Challa
King of Wakanda
Erik Killmonger
2016
Succeeded by:
T'Challa



External Links