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Once you know Michael B. Jordan is a huge fan of anime, it’s hard not to see his Black Panther costume as a nod to Dragon Ball Z. In interviews with Michael B. Jordan, it’s hard to miss that he’s a fan of nerd culture. The actor burst onto the scene in Josh Trank’s low-budget superhero film Chronicle and even re-teamed with the director to become the Human Torch in Fantastic Four. While that latter film received the opposite reaction of the hit indie, that didn’t deter Jordan from continuing to pursue a merger of his two loves.
Black Panther is outperforming other films left and right, quickly climbing up the charts of the MCU and blockbusters in general. And amidst all the success of the film, fans and critics can’t stop talking – and writing – about Erik Killmonger. The character stands in stark contrast to both T’Challa and Nakia when it comes to their views of Wakanda’s place in the world, and Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole’s script paired with Jordan’s acting makes Killmonger one of Marvel’s best villains. And when you consider just how much of geek Jordan is, it makes you wonder about the influence he had on the character.
Twitter user @Shorty2Die4 noticed something familiar about Killmonger’s main costume in Black Panther, and once you see it side-by-side with an image of Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, it’s hard to ignore.
OMG!!!! i'm screaming!!!!! @michaelb4jordan #BlackPanther #ErikKillmonger #Tchalla pic.twitter.com/LcDOOJOwMu
— Jenn (@Shorty2Die4) February 19, 2018
On its own, this might just be a fun coincidence. But when taken along with Jordan’s love of anime, it’s easy to imagine him having a bit of influence on the look Killmonger adopts for a majority of the film. Jordan’s love of anime is hardly a secret, as both an old interview unearthed by @ryuseitai and a 2011 tweet from Jordan himself prove.
i'm watching an old michael b jordan interview and he got asked what his guilty pleasure is and he fucking wrote anime but scribbled it out and changed it to women i'm laughing pic.twitter.com/LVJIKcBlbj
— aoife (@ryusietai) February 20, 2018
@mangastream whats the delay on naruto and bleach
— Michael B. Jordan (@michaelb4jordan) December 26, 2011
Killmonger changed from the comics in a number of key ways, but his core attributes stayed intact. With the comic book love and knowledge Jordan has demonstrated in interviews, it’s likely that he helped influence the final version of the character. And if he had a hand in crafting the personality of the antagonist, it would make sense for him to bring some costume suggestions to the table as well.
All of this is mere speculation, but it’s still fun to imagine Jordan merging all of his geeky loves into a character as violent and brutal Killmonger. Jordan and Coogler will re-team on Wrong Answer next – with a script by Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates – but maybe a Dragon Ball-related project is in the actor’s future.