‘Black Panther’ commentary reveals what happened to Killmonger’s mom
Black Panther‘s Killmonger is a great villain partially because he’s three-dimensional. His motivations genuinely make sense, and his complicated, tragic backstory makes him a sympathetic character, too.
On the commentary for the Black Panther Blu-Ray, director Ryan Coogler adds another detail to that backstory. We already knew that Killmonger’s mother wasn’t Wakandan — N’Jobu, Killmonger’s father, met her in Oakland — but it wasn’t clear what happened to her.
According to Coogler, when N’Jobu and a young Zuri are conversing at the beginning of the film, just before King T’Chaka arrives, they’re actually trying to find a way to break Killmonger’s mother out of prison. It’s a mission that never came to fruition.
“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,” Coogler said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “The idea was they never got her out, and she passed away in prison, so Killmonger didn’t come up with a mom either.”
Complex makes a good point, though: She could still be alive. Hey, it’s Marvel. Anything can happen. Plus, don’t we deserve, like, one happy familial detail?