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Namor Won’t Be From Atlantis in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’—Here’s Why

Namor in the Black Panther trailer

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is coming on November 11, 2022, and eager fans finally got their first look at the sequel at San Diego Comic-Con. Black Panther 2 will focus on Wakanda’s struggle against other encroaching world powers after King T’Challa’s death, and it will also launch one of the latest additions to the MCU: Namor the Sub-Mariner (Tenoch Huerta). Namor’s backstory will have one major change, though. While in the comics, Namor hails from the lost city of Atlantis, in the MCU, he’ll rule a nation called Talocan. Why the change? Here’s what we know so far!

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A Press Release and Toy Line Reveal the Change

In the trailer, we saw the new look for Namor and his people. Instead of the Aquaman lookalike from the comics, Namor’s look is now inspired by Mesoamerican cultures, with gold jewelry and feathered regalia. The change was first revealed by Ludwig Goransson, who composed the score for Wakanda Forever, in a new press release by Disney.

During the nights on these trips, we had recording sessions with contemporary artists who were akin to the characters and thematic material explored in the film. Using Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole’s script as a blueprint, along with the recordings from the traditional musicians, we began to build a musical vocabulary for the characters, storylines, and cultures of Talocan and Wakanda.

The first line of Black Panther merchandise, a new set of action figures in the Marvel Legends line, also references the new name:

The ruler of Talocan, an ancient civilization hidden in the depths of the ocean, Namor will stop at nothing to protect his people. 

The name Talocan bears a close resemblance to Tlālōcān, one of the afterlives found in Mesoamerican mythology. As the domain of the rain deity Tlālōc, Tlālōcān is the destination for people killed by water in its various forms. Tlālōcān is incorporated into religious practices among contemporary Nahuas.

Huerta, who’s Mexican himself, talked about the collaborative process of developing Namor and Talocan in Black Panther 2 during an interview at Comic-Con:

[The film is] inspired by Mesoamerican cultures, and the people involved as consultants are Mexican academics from the region, who are themselves Latinos, and they made it possible. The company and the production were completely open, willing, respectful, intelligent, sensitive. That’s representation. That’s how things should be done, with this love, this commitment, and this humility.

For fans itching to see more diversity in Marvel films, or anyone who’s hoping the MCU will make Namor distinct from his DCEU counterpart Aquaman, Talocan is a welcome addition to the Marvel universe.

(featured image: Marvel)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>

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