It's been roughly two weeks since the release of Black Panther and the frenzy is still unfolding. The movie is the 18th in Marvel Cinematic Universe and it doesn't disappoint — unless you are among the most anal of comic geeks. All in all, the movie is amazing and, by now, you've had plenty of time to go see it.
There is one particular character that stands out among the fray and that is Erik "Killmonger" Stephens. Michael B. Jordan brought the screen adaptation of this character to life and immediately shot straight up the ranks of the great comic-book-inspired villains in cinema.
Killmonger stands out for various reasons. From his origin story to his amazing fighting skills, there is one thing that just cannot be ignored: how operator Killmonger actually is.
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
It is revealed that Erik Stevens is a graduate of both the Naval Academy and MIT. In the movie, they don't tell you which type of degree he pursued and obtained, but in the comics, they make it clear that he has multiple PhDs.
Erik Killmonger is considered to have a genius-level intellect and a charismatic leadership style.
Not pictured: Erik "Killmonger" sitting and plotting, in silence. (U.S. Navy photo by Sam Shavers)
In the same monologue that reveals Killmonger's education, we also learn that Stevens was a Navy SEAL! We all know that SEALs are some of the most insane badasses around.
If Killmonger was one of them and later joined a JSOC unit, it's an extremely safe bet to assume he could hang with any fighter in the world.
In the comics, Killmonger nearly defeats the Black Panther in combat but is undone by his own aggression.
The real-world badasses on which this fictional badass is based. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons).
Just think about this for a moment. T'Challa was born, raised, and groomed to one day be king and to assume the mantle of Black Panther.
Killmonger was an orphan who somehow attended and graduated from the Naval Academy by 19 and ended up being a Navy f*cking SEAL! Killmonger handily defeated T'Challa in hand-to-hand combat, which says a lot about the level of skill he reached.
Killmonger getting those hands together. (Photo from Warner Bros. Pictures' Creed)
An actual claim to throne
In the MCU storyline, Killmonger is actually T'Challa's first cousin. He was abandoned after T'Chaka murdered his father. He had a legitimate right to the throne and he took it through wit, training, and might.
Killmonger had a legitimate gripe and a legitimate claim to the throne. (Photo from Marvel Studios' Black Panther).