In Black Panther, in order to be King you must consume a plant which in the comics is referred to as the Heart Shaped Herb and then "enter the ancestral plane and reconnect with the past Black Panthers."

When T'Challa consumes the plant

He meets up with his father and other past black panthers and this is not just once it happens twice once when he originally becomes King and after when he is revived in the mountains.

However when Killmonger consumes the plant

He sees his father [who is not a Black Panther] and talks to him.

Why doesn't Killmonger see previous Black Panthers if that is the point of the vision ceremony?

  • Yeah @Paulie_D I meant why doesn't he see the other black panthers? Feb 17 '18 at 11:06
  • @Paulie_D + His father wasn't a black panther his father was a spy and his brother T'Chaka took the throne and the role of Black Panther. Feb 17 '18 at 12:21
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    I've edited the question to what I think you meant to ask but feel free to make your own clarifications.
    – Paulie_D
    Feb 17 '18 at 12:36

As far as I feel, the literal sense is made for the ancestral plane, as his father wasn't a Black Panther (although he was of royal blood), so Killmonger not seeing previous black panthers but his father makes sense.

As far as movie's explanation about ritual goes, they meet their ancestors (usually father), or whoever they have deep emotional anguish or love for. It isn't explicitly stated that the ritual ceremony needs to contain a vision of the previous black panthers.

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    I noticed that on the second watching that the sky in the background of Killmonger's vision is the same as the one in T'Challa's ancestral plane.
    – AShelly
    Mar 13 '18 at 2:14

Killmonger was NEVER the legitimate king as he did not fulfill the terms of the trial, death or yield.

Since he wasn't the legitimate king, his access to the knowledge of the lineage of Black Panthers was denied.

Further, it could be inferred that Bast denied him access to the full Wakandan ancestral plane since his motives and tactics for claiming the throne were in conflict with the still-living legitimate king.

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