The Evolution of Michael B. Jordan

Michael B Jordan attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars at the The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California on March 27, 2022.
Michael B Jordan attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars at the The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California on March 27, 2022.

Michael B. Jordan. Oh, how we love thee. Let us count the ways...

No, seriously! Due to Jordan’s long and illustrious career, let’s take a look at where it all started with the Newark, New Jersey native and his ascent into becoming one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood.

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2002: The Wire

Screenshot:  YouTube/Aimfight
Screenshot: YouTube/Aimfight

Most people may have known Jordan from his first major feature role in the 2001 film Hardball, but he really landed into the hearts of millions as Wallace on the popular HBO drama, The Wire. That show would prove pivotal to a handful of other actors who went on to lead successful careers such as Idris Elba, Michael K. Williams, Wendell Pierce and more.

2003: All My Children

Screenshot:  YouTube/Hamottloncal
Screenshot: YouTube/Hamottloncal

Not too long after Wallace’s stint was over at HBO, Jordan tried his had in the wonderful world of daytime soap operas, starring as Reggie on All My Children. In a fun stroke of coincidence, the role was previously played by a young Chadwick Boseman and the two would later reconnect in a MAJOR way 15 years later. (You already know what I’m referring to, don’t you? Don’t worry, we’ll get to it soon.)

2009-2010: Friday Night Lights & Parenthood

Michael B. Jordan attends the celebrity gift lounge during the 39th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 14, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.
Michael B. Jordan attends the celebrity gift lounge during the 39th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on February 14, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Fast forward to 2009-2010, Jordan was back in the primetime spot, appearing in not one but two NBC series: Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, respectively.

2012-2013: Red Tails, Fruitvale Station

Screenshot:  YouTube/FilmIsNow Movies & Trailers
Screenshot: YouTube/FilmIsNow Movies & Trailers

In 2012, Jordan was back on the silver screen, appearing alongside Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parker, Terence Howard, David Oyelowo and more in the Tuskegee Airmen-centric film, Red Tails. (Admittedly, this was the film that started my love for Jordan, but you didn’t hear that from me.)

Then, in 2013, in what was arguably Jordan’s breakout role, he starred in the Ryan Coogler-directed Sundance darling, Fruitvale Station. The film, which was based on the true (and tragic) story of the murder of Oscar Grant, would mark the first time Jordan and Coogler would collaborate creatively, but it wouldn’t be the last. (I know, I know, we’re getting to the good stuff now.)

2015: Fantastic Four and Creed

Michael B. Jordan attends BKB 3, Big Knockout Boxing, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Michael B. Jordan attends BKB 3, Big Knockout Boxing, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 27, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Okay, so I know I said we were getting to the good stuff, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the royal bust that was 2015's Fantastic Four film. Though through no fault of Jordan’s, that movie was, by all intents and purposes—and all intensive purposes—a flop.

But! One flop does not mean an entire flop era, and Jordan certainly made up for it by starring in the highly popular, Ryan Coogler-directed (see, I told you!) Rocky spinoff Creed later that same year. In the film, he played the son of the slain fighter Apollo Creed, who’s fighting to figure out life and a legacy for himself.

2018: Black Panther & Creed II

Michael B Jordan attends the European Premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” on February 8, 2018 in London, England.
Michael B Jordan attends the European Premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” on February 8, 2018 in London, England.

And the hits just keep on coming! Three years later, Jordan would land a role in the billion-dollar, Blackity-black,/ best superhero/ movie ever, Black Panther. Though not in the titular role, Jordan’s role as the antagonist, Killmonger, launched him into next-level stardom and fame (and rightfully so because so many people to this day are still on his side. He was WRONG. “ALL OF YOU WERE WRONG!” About A LOT. Let it go!)

If that wasn’t enough, he slapped back on his boxing shorts and headed back into the ring as Adonis Creed for the second installation of the Creed franchise later that same year.

2019-2022: Sexiest Man Alive, Just Mercy, Journal for Jordan, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Michael B. Jordan attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars in Beverly Hills, California on March 27, 2022.
Michael B. Jordan attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars in Beverly Hills, California on March 27, 2022.

Beginning in 2019, Jordan would go on to capitalize off his new status and pivoted towards a moving social justice film, Just Mercy, which chronicles the real-life story of attorney and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson.

The next year, his career feats and aesthetic splendor would land him the moniker of People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2020, which, no shade to the ones who came before him and after him, but this was one of the few times People got it RIGHT. So thank you People Mag, thank you. I mean, look at this man. He looks blessed. Wouldn’t you agree?

In 2021, he and perhaps Hollywood’s most beloved actor Denzel Washington joined forces to bring to life A Journal for Jordan, a film based on the true story of First Sgt. Charles Monroe King.

[SPOILER ALERT] Then, in November 2022, Jordan surprisingly reprised his role as Killmonger for a cameo on the long-awaited, highly-anticipated sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

2023 & Beyond: Creed III, I Helped Destroy People

Photo:  Courtesy of MGM
Photo: Courtesy of MGM

If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about Jordan, it’s that he knows how to collaborate with the best of the best, and next year (and the years to come) is no exception. In March 2023, he’ll be making his directorial debut with Creed III, starring opposite Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad and franchise newbie Jonathan Majors (!!!). He’s also set to team up with Ambulance and Candyman star Yahya Abul-Mateen II for the forthcoming film I Helped Destroy People.

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