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8/4/2022 • 4 min read
After what has felt like a very long wait, we are finally going back to Wakanda, in BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. We will not be the only visitors, however. One of Marvel‘s oldest comic book characters is making a journey to the secluded land, and he does not look happy.
Prince Namor, a.k.a. the Sub-Mariner, is the villain in WAKANDA FOREVER. He is also likely to be a major player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward, with the full span of his influence yet to be seen. Long-time comic book readers will be familiar with Namor from his encounters with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Everyone else may be wondering "who the heck is this guy with wings on his feet?" Let’s talk about Namor, the new villain in BLACK PANTHER 2.
Tenoch Huerta plays Namor in BLACK PANTHER 2. While the character has not been explicitly named in a trailer or other materials, his green shorts and winged feet in the first WAKANDA FOREVER teaser trailer are more than sufficient to identify the character.
There's a simple answer — in Marvel Comics, Namor is the ruler of Atlantis. He is also a mutant. He prioritizes the well-being of his kingdom above all else, which means that as far as the rest of the Marvel characters are concerned, he can be a villain, an anti-hero, and sometimes even a romantic leading man.
Namor originally appeared in 1939 in "Motion Picture Funnies Weekly" and then in the first issue of "Marvel Comics", back when the publisher was named Timely Comics. Namor fought alongside early versions of Captain America and the Human Torch during wartime stories published in the 1940s. When Stan Lee reinvented Marvel in the early 1960s, Namor was reinvented as well. He was an amnesiac who regained his powers and memory thanks to Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, setting off decades of antagonism and evolution.
It's too early to say what will happen in WAKANDA FOREVER, but in comics, Namor and Black Panther have a long history together. They have both been on the Illuminati panel, which appeared in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. They have been uneasy allies and leaders on opposite sides of a war.
More importantly, when Incursions threatened parts of the Marvel Comics universe — those being destructive collisions between two aspects of the multiverse — Namor and Black Panther were key players.
Since we know that Incursions will be taking place in the MCU as well, as set in motion in the last DOCTOR STRANGE movie, there's a very good chance that Namor's actions will echo what he has done in comics. But a lot must be set in motion for us to get to that point.
One of the biggest changes made to Namor for BLACK PANTHER 2 is the name of his point of origin. In the comics, Namor is from Atlantis. He is and has always been from Atlantis, ever since the character debuted in 1939. There's just one problem. Another superhero from Atlantis has already starred in a big movie, and is coming back for a sequel in early 2023.
So in BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, Namor is from Talocan, called "an ancient civilization hidden in the depths of the ocean." So the name has changed, but the general qualities of the place remain the same. That name, by the way, along with Namor's appearance, reflects ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
Probably not! There's no question that he will play the villain for much of BLACK PANTHER 2, but chances are that he will not remain strictly a bad guy. That's not who Namor is; traditionally, he is a hot-headed anti-hero.
Theories already abound suggesting that Namor may be under the influence of another manipulative character. Doctor Doom's name has come up, and that would certainly help set up some characters for the FANTASTIC FOUR movie coming in November 2024. But it's too early to know for certain. For now, we'll be happy knowing that one of our most-wanted characters is finally coming to the MCU/
All images courtesy of Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios.
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