In Black Panther, director Ryan Coogler gave Erik “Killmonger” Stevens’ a new tragic backstory that made him into an even more compelling character. In the film, it was revealed that Killmonger's father, Prince N’Jobu, was killed by his brother, King T’Chaka, to save Zuri's life. T’Chaka then decided to leave N’Jobu behind to cover up the truth about what he had done. Since N’Jobu fell in love with a woman in Oakland, many fans wondered what became of Killmonger’s mother. Thanks to the director’s commentary track on the upcoming Black Panther Blu-ray, we have the answer.
Via The Hollywood Reporter, Coogler added context to the opening scene by stating that Killmonger’s mother was in prison. In fact, N’Jobu and Zuri were making plans to break her out when T’Chaka arrived to confront N’Jobu about allowing Ulysses Klaue to steal Vibranium from Wakanda.
"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," said Coogler. "The idea was they never got her out, and she passed away in prison, so Killmonger didn't come up with a mom either."
In Marvel’s comic book universe, T’Challa and Killmonger aren’t directly related and the story of his exile played out differently. Killmonger’s father was forced to help Klaue when he invaded Wakanda, and the entire family was cast out of the country because of it. However, the story used in the film made the personal stakes more vibrant and helped transform Killmonger into one of Marvel Studios’ best villains to date.
Black Panther will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on May 15.