Royal Blood

Young Erik Stevens’ life shattered on the day he looked up from a neighborhood game of basketball with his friends to see a Wakandan jet streak away from his apartment building. Inside his home, he discovered the body of his father, N’Jobu, and a diary that explained everything.

The boy possessed the blood of the Wakandans, an African society who had hid their technologically advanced way of life behind the facade of being a seemingly poor nation, and his father had died at the hands of his own brother, T’Chaka, the king of Wakanda. T’Chaka divined N’Jobu’s illegal alliance with Ulysses Klaue, a mercenary with a lust for the Vibranium metal of Wakanda, and killed him when N’Jobu attacked Zuri, a loyal Wakandan who had operated as a secret operative to keep tabs on N’Jobu. From the young Erik’s perspective, his father died while in pursuit of a dream to help all people of African descent around the globe via the riches of Vibranium.

Stevens worked his way through grad school at M.I.T. as well as graduating from the Annapolis military academy at the age of nineteen. Diving deep into the SEAL program, he joined a Joint Special Operations Command “ghost unit” and earned the nickname “Killmonger” for the sheer number of kills he made while in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other hot spots around the world. After achieving the skills and abilities he needed, he then set his eye on his true target: Wakanda.

Killmonger stealing Vibranium

Tools and the Talent

Erik Killmonger’s military skills include weapons proficiency, marksmanship, covert operations, tactics and strategy, and hand-to-hand combat. His demeanor could be cold, but his drive to complete his vision for his people burned hot within, driving him to commit heinous acts to achieve everything he set out to do. Though externally he appeared and spoke as a typical American, he was well-versed in Wakandan customs, history, and language.

As the Black Panther, Erik Killmonger wore a high-tech suit similar to that of T’Challa, the Panther before him, which gifted its user with stealth, high-grade optics, Vibranium claws, and some degree of invulnerability to firearms and knife attacks. Beyond that, Erik Killmonger also imbibed the heart-shaped herb which heightened his senses, agility, stamina, and strength.

Killmonger on the battlefield

One Man Can Make a Difference

Erik Stevens’ world was shattered after the death of his father. His father named him N’Jadaka at birth, taught him all about Wakanda and even promised to take him there one day, something Erik Killmonger never forgot. In a way, everything he did as an adult was to fulfill his beloved father’s dreams.

For a short time, Erik Killmonger worked with his father’s old acquaintance, the mercenary Ulysses Klaue, and though the men worked together for mutual benefit, Erik Killmonger mercilessly ended Klaue’s life to complete his plan to access Wakanda. Erik Killmonger also notably killed his other accomplices before his journey to Wakanda, including Linda, who he’d been in a relationship with.

Once in Wakanda, the head of the Border Tribe, W’Kabi, became his next and last ally. W’Kabi saw in Erik Killmonger a kindred spirit in his belief that the nation’s technology should be used to change the rest of the world, even if by way of force. This alliance also crumbled upon Erik Killmonger’s defeat.

Killmonger and W'Kabi

One Man Against the World

Erik Stevens’ enemies may have been too great to count, as he opposed nearly everyone he encountered and saw them as either pawns in his gambit or enemies to be conquered. Chief among the latter stood T’Challa, his cousin and newly crowned ruler of Wakanda. Arriving in the small nation, Erik Killmonger’s first and foremost goal was to eliminate T’Challa, seize the throne, and wear the mantle of the Black Panther. Having done that, everything else, he reasoned, would fall into place. And for a short time, it did.

During the battle that followed T’Challa’s return after being bested, Erik Killmonger entered into personal combat with Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, and the legendary Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s sworn protectors and the king’s bodyguards.

Executing the Plan

Erik Killmonger’s first move in his plan to take over Wakanda came when he and Klaue invaded the Museum of Great Britain to steal a Wakandan artifact. He then directed Klaue to sell the artifact in order to purposely draw attention. As expected, the deal went sour when the Black Panther heard of the sale and interrupted it as a means to capture Klaue. Erik Killmonger moved to rescue the mercenary from a CIA black site, but not before Klaue revealed Wakanda’s technological secret to CIA agent Everett K. Ross.

Having returned to Wakanda empty-handed, T’Challa extracted the truth from Zuri about the encounter between T’Chaka and his brother N’Jobu many years before in America. Killmonger, the boy left behind by T’Chaka, then arrived at the border of the small nation with Klaue’s corpse and demanded to be allowed as the bearer of royal blood to make a challenge for the throne. T’Challa accepted the challenge and during the fight, Erik Killmonger killed Zuri in revenge and also beat the reigning Black Panther. He threw the badly injured T’Challa off the top of a waterfall and claimed his mantle and throne.

Battle for the throne on the waterfall

Though he was presumed dead, with the help of his mother and sister, T’Challa was nursed back to health and returned to the capital to take back what was rightfully his from the usurper. Erik Killmonger was in the process of launching a fleet of aircraft to deliver Wakandan weapons around the globe in order to instigate violent rebellion sand ordered his forces to stop T’Challa and his allies from disrupting his plans. Discovering T’Challa had survived the battle with Erik Killmonger, the Dora Milaje went over to their former king’s side, while W’Kabi led his army into battle to fight for Erik Killmonger.

During the conflict that followed, two Black Panthers squared off against each other, evenly matched, each fighting for what they believed was right. They tumbled down into the nation’s vast Vibranium mines, and when T’Challa saw a way to disrupt Erik Killmonger’s suit, he pressed his advantage and brought his rival down, stabbing him with his own weapon.

Erik Killmonger refused T’Challa’s offer to try and mend him and accepted his fate, explaining he’d rather die than live out the rest of his life in chains. After his life of violence, Erik Killmonger died peacefully by his cousin’s side, while admiring the fabled Wakandan sunset his father had once told him about.

To honor the boy N’Jadaka and his father N’Jobu, T’Challa bought the apartment building where they once lived and turned it into an outreach center for its community. As a further gesture to the core of Erik Killmonger’s beliefs, he also announced Wakanda’s entry onto the world stage.