LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Director Ryan Coogler attends the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on November 03, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Why The Black Panther Movies Don't Feature 'Villains,' According To Ryan Coogler
In an interview with Collider, director Ryan Coogler considers Namor and Killmonger of “Black Panther” as antagonists, rather than villains. The difference between "villain" and "antagonist" informs Coogler's approach to storytelling from an empathetic place.
The word "villain" packs an inherent amount of judgment, while "antagonist" evokes a neutral observation of opposition. Though Killmonger was corrupted with revenge and hatred, it's hard to label his motivations as purely villainous, as he raised a difficult question about the nature of power.
Coogler said, "It'd be interesting if [T'Challa and Killmonger] want the same things, but because of who they are, and what shaped them, they want to get those things in different ways and their means come in conflict with each other." In an MCU mostly defined by hard lines of good vs. evil, this is what makes "Black Panther" a more sophisticated film.