Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan continues to dodge questions about the potential return of the slain Erik "Killmonger" Stevens in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther II. The Marvel Studios sequel, which begins filming this summer in Georgia, will not replace the late Chadwick Boseman's King T'Challa, who mortally wounds his cousin Killmonger in the climactic battle ending Black Panther. Despite his character's death in the original film, the Without Remorse star revealed he would return for Black Panther II because the cast and crew of the blockbuster Marvel franchise are "family."
"I don't know what Marvel has up their sleeves, so I can't let [fans] down nor get them excited with any information that may or may not come out of my mouth, that I may or may not have said," Jordan said on BBC Radio's Movies With Ali Plumb when asked to reveal how he lets people know Killmonger won't be coming back in Black Panther II. "And that's all I can say if I said anything at all."
Jordan said in February he "can't say too much" about Black Panther II without Boseman, telling Good Morning America, "With the year that we've had, and the loss of a dear friend, they were figuring out whatever they need to do and what was best for the franchise. But they're family, so if I ever had the opportunity to get back into that franchise, I would."
Black Panther producer and Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige earlier confirmed Marvel Studios will not recast Boseman's T'Challa, the King of Wakanda, saying the late actor's depiction of the character "is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium from Marvel's past." Instead of recasting T'Challa, Feige said future productions set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would "continue to explore the world of Wakanda and all the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film."
That includes Boseman and Jordan's returning co-stars Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Martin Freeman (Everett Ross), and Angela Bassett (Ramonda). Plot details are being kept under wraps.
"[Coogler's] idea, the way which he has reshaped the second movie is so respectful of the loss we've all experienced as a cast and as a world," Nyong'o recently told Yahoo! about Boseman, who died in August 2020 at the age of 43. "So it feels spiritually and emotionally correct to do this. And hopefully, what I do look forward to, is getting back together and honoring what he started with us and holding his light through it. Because he left us a lot of light that we're still going to be bathing in. I know that for sure."
Black Panther II is currently scheduled to open in theaters on July 8, 2022.