There is a meme making its rounds on the internet that says Teyana Taylor should play Madam Slay in the next Black Panther movie. Taylor actually does resemble the villain but it is obviously a coincidence since Taylor was not even born when Madam Slay was created in 1975. However, it would be interesting to see a female villain in a future Black Panther movie since the film displayed so many fierce female heroes (the Dora Milaje, Shuri, and Nakia, for examples). But who is Madam Slay? This is a character that doesn’t have much of a backstory in the MCU, but with more development she could be a fierce adversary.
Madam Slay first appeared in Jungle Action Vol 2 #18 (1975). She does not appear to be a mutant or have supernatural powers but she can command leopards. The leopards may be trained or this could be her other worldly ability. Again, that part of her character wasn’t really developed but she uses the leopards to do her bidding, even if it means slaughtering people. She was Erik Killmonger’s lover and preserved his body with secret herbs after Killmonger was defeated and killed in the comics.
One night, the Mandarin snuck into her living quarters, stole the body and brought Killmonger back to life using his rings at the Resurrection alter. Killmonger returned to Madam Slay and they hatched a plan to kill Black Panther (which they had done) and take over Wakanda. Their plan was to lead the country to war against other nations and they used Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Jim Rhodes (War Machine) as pawns in that plan when the latter two visited Wakanda. Madam Slay seduced and drugged Rhodes and took him as prisoner. Then Killmonger and Slay blamed T’Challa’s apparent murder on Rhodes and Stark to feed into xenophobia and propaganda that Wakanda is better off as an isolated nation. They also convinced their fellow countryfolk to go to war against other nations in an act of vengeance.
In short, the plan did not work. It turned out that T’Challa faked his death using a Life Model Decoy, so he and Iron Man worked together to defeat Killmonger and Madam Slay. Eventually, Mandarin recalled his ring and Killmonger reverted back to death. Madam Slay, heartbroken by the second death of her love, gave up hope.
We saw the movie version of Killmonger kill his girlfriend once she became a hindrance to his mission, and that obviously wasn’t Madam Slay. However, if writers were to factor Madam Slay into the movie, it would be interesting if she got more backstory and development. Perhaps she could be another lost child of Wakanda and have some sort of connection to Erik Killmonger. Perhaps she could be his ex? Or, she could be a Wakandan citizen who agreed with his philosophy, heard about what happened to him and decided to go on her own quest for justice.
There is a strong possibility that Killmonger could be back in the Black Panther sequel. No one ever really stays dead in the MCU and Angela Bassett recently hinted at the possibility. While on the red carpet for the 2019 SAG awards she was asked if the entire cast would return and her response was, “I assume so,” and her husband, actor Courtney B. Vance, interrupted saying, “Yes, just go ahead and say it, yes! Everyone will be there, including Michael B. Jordan!”
- Angela Bassett on the red carpet: https://www.etonline.com/angela-bassetts-husband-courtney-b-vance-might-have-confirmed-a-major-black-panther-2-spoiler
- Teyana/Madam Slay Meme: https://bit.ly/2ulO0i0