Michael B. Jordan discusses being a first-time villain and how his “Black Panther” character shows the “common struggle” of African-Americans

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) — Michael B. Jordan is taking on a role of a sort he never has before in the critically acclaimed Marvel film, Black Panther. Jordan plays Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, a  U.S. Special Forces soldier of Wakandan decent who seeks to overthrow Chadwick Boseman’s King T’Challa.

Jordan says suiting up as the film’s villain was definitely a new experience for him.

“The fact that I never played an antagonist — a villain before, I was really excited about it,” Jordan tells ABC Radio. “I wanted to see if I could pull it off. To see what that was, to see what that felt like. So I was looking forward to it.”

Although Jordan admits that he, “didn’t have any hesitation at all about taking this role,” when his good friend and the film’s director Ryan Coogler asked him to be a part of it, Jordan says his role was more than just being the bad guy. It was also about showing the struggles that black Americans face as a disenfranchised group — and not necessarily having a close connection to their African heritage.

“I know that’s a common struggle that a lot of African-Americans have — being disenfranchised and not having that direct correlation or not feeling that connection growing up here in the States,” Jordan explains. “So, yeah, that was definitely something that was a through-line of Killmonger’s kind of rage and frustration that he ultimately wanted to express throughout the movie.”

Jordan adds, “And hopefully we did a good job at embodying that.”

Black Panther starring Boseman, Jordan, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett and Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o, opens nationwide February 16 from Marvel Studios and Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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