Michael B. Jordan as Erik Stevens/N’Jadaka/Killmonger confronting Chadwick Boseman, aka T’Challa/Black Panther
Photo: Marvel Studios/Disney

At the very beginning of Black Panther, the audience gets to spend just a little time taking in the magic that is Sterling K. Brown as his character, N’Jobu, plots with Zuri (Denzel Whitaker in the flashbacks) on some sort of scheme.

N’Jobu, who is the father of anti-hero Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), is killed in the scene by his brother, King T’Chaka, because he has violated the laws of Wakanda by trading in vibranium in hopes of funding a revolution of sorts for black people in America.

What is unspoken, but now told by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler in the upcoming Blu-ray release, is that the initial plot was about Killmonger’s mother, and not a bank robbery, as some have surmised. From the Hollywood Reporter:

“The idea was when you see those guys talking over the paperwork in the beginning of the film, they’re talking about a way to break her out of jail,” Coogler explains. “The idea was they never got her out, and she passed away in prison, so Killmonger didn’t come up with a mom either.”

So Killmonger, very much an apt metaphor for African Americans, is not only an orphaned child but also a child with an incarcerated parent, and a parent who was murdered, all statistics that far too many African-American children experience in real life.

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With this information, Killmonger’s rage and hatred of women are now a bit more clear, but no less tragic.

Black Panther is available for digital download on May 8 and Blu-ray on May 15.