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Who is Namor the Sub-Mariner? Marvel’s First Mutant, Explained

Namor in the Black Panther trailer

Namor is an important character to be heading to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and if you’re looking at his name and thinking you know who he is, you probably do! He’s been a part of the comic world since 1939 and has yet to make a splash in the live-action world of the MCU. But now, with the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dropping, fans want to know who this man is and we have some answers for you!

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Often labeled as the first mutant, Namor was the son of a man who tried to seek out the vibranium lost at sea thanks to the disappearance of the Endurance and while his father, Leonard McKenzie, was leading the charge, he also fell in love with Princess Fen of Atlantis. And their love spawned Namor, the hybrid son of the two and the first mutant in the Marvel world. Granted, we know that he’s not the first ever mutant but he is the first in the comics.

So his inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big red flag for those of us waiting for the mutants to show up in the MCU. Yes, we got a nod to them in Ms. Marvel but that’s not a fully fledged mutant we’ve known for decades (in fact, Kamala wasn’t a mutant in the comics). But with Namor’s inclusion in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it’s an important part of mutant history and it will be fascinating to see where it leads in the future.

For the movie, Namor is played by Tenoch Huerta. And we get to see his birth, a bit of Atlantis, and what looks like a battle between Namor, the Atlanteans, and Wakanda. But Namor’s inclusion also probably means that he won’t be a one-off character. He plays an important part in other Marvel storylines so introducing him in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever while there is a Fantastic Four movie on the horizon does feel like it is part of the plan.

Namor’s mutant ways

In an interview with Empire, Huerta confirmed that Namor is in fact a mutant. Which is a big deal for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are characters who have been included that have mutant connections to the comics but haven’t really expanded on them in the comics. Now we may have the confirmation with Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel about mutants existing in Earth-616 (there was a hint at the end of the series that she is a mutant instead of an Inhuman) and we did get to see Professor X when Wanda went to Earth-838 in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

But even though we have characters who are “mutants” in the comics, they weren’t necessarily mutants in the MCU (mainly Wanda and Pietro come to mind). Namor is the first to be a mutant right out the gate though because we have not had this confirmation so soon but it’ll be interesting to see how that plays into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Do we need more Namor in the future?

Recently, there’s been what seem to be a one-off story for the antagonists of the MCU. They are important in that movie and then they are dead and so we can expect to not see them again but for Namor, it’s different. He’s so important to other storylines as well that it feels like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will just be an introduction to the character and we’ll see more of him in the future.

For now though, the trailer gave us an amazing first look at Tenoch Huerta as King Namor McKenzie and I can’t wait to see what the Sub-Mariner brings to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.