Killmonger Should ‘Stay Dead,’ Many MCU Fans Agree
It’s hard to believe that the MCU has been going on for almost 15 years now. Fans have seen dozens of their favorite heroes battle the forces of evil in around 60 big-screen appearances. Who they battle though, varies from time to time and not all MCU villains have exactly been equal over the years. Marvel has certainly delivered some mediocre bad guys a few times, but what bothers many is that some of the greatest villains were killed off, and whether they should essentially return from the dead to appear again is a hotly contested topic among many fans.
The hits and misses of Marvel’s villainy
Comic books villains aren’t necessarily literary masterpieces in the comic tradition, but they certainly do have some substance to them throughout the decades built up over the pages of Marvel. While comic book fans have gotten to know their villains over story after story over the years, that can translate poorly into film. While the story is spending time with the heroes and pushing the plotline, sometimes Marvel has really failed to form a sympathetic motivation for their villains that viewers can really identify with.
Ultron, for instance, from Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the most beloved comic book villains of all time. Without all the context from the comic books though, the character couldn’t really establish himself in what essentially amounted to 5 minutes of dialogue, no matter how brilliantly James Spader voiced him. While Thor: The Dark World was fraught with problems from beginning to end, one of the biggest issues with the movie was the absolute and total lack of development that its villain Malekith received. At the end of the day, the character wasn’t developed at all which left audiences being told that he was a scary dude instead of being shown that through the story.
Complex villains like Baron Zemo and Killmonger have translated to film incredibly though, and the differences don’t always amount to screen time given. Killmonger wasn’t given many lines in the early part of Black Panther, but what he did with the monologues he received made him an amazing villain. Likewise, Zemo got very little attention in Civil War, but his motivations were believable and fans fell in love with him.
The good ones never make it
While Zemo can and has returned in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, other great villains from the MCU aren’t so lucky. Killmonger was killed off in a heart-wrenching conclusion in Black Panther, and other great villains like Thanos have also received the axes (literally, in Thanos’ case) after their storylines concluded.
Marvel’s habit of killing off good villains for a short-term emotion payoff is starting to hurt the long-term landscape of the MCU. There are still plenty of great rogues in the Marvel gallery, but doing injustice to big names that fans really want to see doesn’t do Marvel any favors.
Who would fans most like to return?
On one Reddit thread, fans recently discussed which villain they would like to return to the MCU if they could only pick one. In response to the opening post choosing Killmonger, one user was quick to comment, “I liked Killmonger but he died and I want him to stay dead.” Another user agreed, commenting “I don’t want Killmonger to come back, not because I didn’t like the character but because his was one of the few villain deaths that had real emotional weight to it.”
Fans went on to discuss other favorites that they may like to see return, like Ultron, Ronan the Accuser, or Ulysses Klaw. Sadly, again, all villains that are dead in the MCU continuity. While the dawn of a Marvel multiverse may give producers some chance to bring back some of these fan favorites, killing off all the good ones has already done its damage.
Filmmakers want people to be invested in their characters and what happens to them, and retconning past events just to bring back a character destroys all that. Black Panther was too perfect a movie to be marred by Killmonger popping up again, and so Marvel has written out what is arguably their best villain to date. While fans may not see Michael B Jordan as the character again, at the very least they have a complete and beautiful story arc for the villain forever in his one appearance.