Black Panther's Erik Killmonger is a man of the people. Well, at least he thinks he is: the villainous Killmonger, as played by Michael B. Jordan, is a complicated character with complex motivations for the course of action he embarks on (which we won't get into for the three of you who didn't see Black Panther this weekend).
Like all great antagonists, he believes that what he's doing is right—and the brilliance of Ryan Coogler and Joe Morton Cole's script, along with Jordan's performance, is that he makes a strong case for himself.
But Jordan himself, having never played a villain before, wanted to see how audiences reacted to Killmonger and his performance, and whether both connected to the vast legions of moviegoers who headed out to see Black Panther this past weekend. So he snuck into several opening night screenings around the Los Angeles area and told ET that it turned out the way he hoped:
"It is a little relaxing to know people are really liking the performance...[Playing the bad guy] was something I'd never really done before so I was anxious to see how it would play and if it worked, and it felt good."
Jordan also said that he couldn't be happier with the overall response to the film at those same screenings:
"Honestly, everybody was laughing, they were yelling at the screen, you know what I'm saying? The gasps, the one-liners, everything was working so it was cool to see it with a normal audience -- not at a premiere, not at a press junket. They were really engaged and interacting with the film, so it was good to see."
Jordan's performance has been singled out by critics who saw the movie early as one of Black Panther's strongest aspects—he's being heralded as Marvel's best screen villain ever in some quarters—so it's not exactly surprising that fans would react the same way as well. But it's also kind of neat that the star wanted to check it out for himself and make sure that his hard work was paying off.
If you've seen Black Panther already, what did you think of Jordan's performance? Where does Killlmonger rank for you in the MCU's pantheon of onscreen bad guys?