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Why Namor Isn’t Getting His Own Marvel Solo Movie

Tenoch Huerta as Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

A Black Panther: Wakanda Forever character has stolen stolen audiences’ hearts: Namor, also known as K’uk’ulkan, portrayed by Tenoch Huerta. The Mexican actor has an extensive film and TV history—The Forever Purge, Narcos: Mexico, Sin Nombre, and Gueros—but this is his first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though Wakanda Forever is a movie that explores the mourning of both Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa, everyone walks away remembering Namor.

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Who is Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?

Put simply, he’s Marvel’s first mutant and the leader of Talokan. Namor has been revamped for contemporary audiences, trading the comic character’s Atlantis background for a Mayan one.

Namor’s new lore has the character descending from Yucatan Mayan civilization. The Marvel Cinematic Universe updated the character with a powerful message regarding colonization and the preservation of one’s culture.

In Wakanda Forever, Namor resides in the underwater society, Talokan, which narrowly escaped Spanish colonization. This is vastly different from the comic depiction of the character who was originally from Atlantis. The comic version has been on teams like the Avengers and had a foray with the Fantastic Four, which in some iterations led to a scandalous romantic affair with the married Sue Storm also known as Invisible Woman. Plus, now that he’s a mutant there’s an opportunity to meet the X-Men, like in the comics.

Although there have been many changes to the character, movie fans are embracing the sea leader with open arms. And, while different, there are a lot of subtle and overt homages to the character’s comic history this new version could lead to interesting storytelling opportunities.

Baby Namor, aka Sub-Mariner, in a Marvel Comics panel
(Marvel Comics)

The Intellectual Rights of it all

However, there’s a huge problem. Namor is in the same boat as the Hulk. The only solo Hulk project in the MCU has been the She-Hulk TV series, which features Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk as a guest star. For years, Marvel’s favorite way of getting around intellectual property issues is to put the popular character in a supporting role. This clever loophole is how audiences have gotten the Hulk in past Avengers movies.

For over two decades now comic book fans have become part-time recreational paralegals when trying to decipher the movie rights owners for their favorite superheroes. You may remember that Marvel declared bankruptcy in 1996, right before Marvel Entertainment came out with its first movie, Blade. Then, the company began to sell its movie rights to multiple studios to recoup any money it could. One of the studios to come out with one of the earlier superhero movies was 20th Century Fox with X-Men in 2000, which was a cultural hit. Then came Sony’s Spider-Man in 2002, featuring Tobey Maguire, which was a major success. Which left some of Marvel’s most iconic characters tied up with other studios. 

Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, and Tobey Maguire all together as Spider-Man

Since then, there’s been an intellectual property war between Marvel Entertainment, Fox, Sony, and Universal Studios. 

How will this affect Namor?

So how does Namor fit into all of this? Well, like the Hulk, Universal still owns the rights to everyone’s favorite aquatic villain, according to The Wrap. So that means there will not be a solo movie for the character any time soon.

While there not be an entire movie dedicated to Talokan, there might be future appearances in other Marvel projects, like for the Hulk. For now, we will have to keep our eye out on Marvel’s newest favorite villain in future Marvel projects.

(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)

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A. Mana Nava
Nava was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, they edit economic textbooks by day and write geeky articles for the internet in the evenings. They currently exist on unceded Lenape land aka Brooklyn. (Filipine/a Mexican American)

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