Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Namor appears to position the Sub-Mariner as the god Kukulkán, but he could be a mutant instead. There’s a sense that Phase 4 of the MCU was mostly about a single concept: expansion. Phase 4 has expanded the franchise in often unexpected and unpredictable directions, from mutants to supernatural monsters and from multiverse variants to pantheons of MCU gods.
The supporters for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever seem to suggest that Namor, ruler of the underwater kingdom of Talocan, is another god. He is associated with Kukulkán, the feathered serpent god of many Mesoamerican cultures, which explains the beautiful headdress the character has worn. The idea is surprising, since the comic book version of Namor has nothing to do with the gods at all; rather, he’s a human-Atlantic hybrid, and a mutant to boot. But surprisingly, this may still be the case.
Is Namor Kukulkán, or is he a mutant?
An established character in the Marvel Comics universe, Kukulkán has subtle ties to Prince Namor’s cousin, Namora; Kukulkán was first mentioned in Marvel Mystery Comics #82, the problem Namora introduced. There, Namora discovered an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Kukulkán that was raided. She intervened and found that some of the criminals involved made the natives believe they were speaking on behalf of Kukulkán himself. The real Kukulkán would not appear until 1966 when he owned the treasure hunter El Tigre and fought the X-Men. He’s only appeared a handful of times, as Marvel tends to focus on the Norse and Greek pantheons, meaning the name really is a pretty deep cut in Marvel’s lore.
Strangely enough, actor Tenoch Huerta, who plays Namor of the MCU, has stated that Namor is a mutant, not a god. According to Empire, during an interview he noted a detail taken from the comics; that Namor is indeed a mutant. This confirmation, which appears to be direct rather than editorial, goes completely against the trailers themselves. Gods and mutants are different things, so there shouldn’t really be a way for Namor to be both.
Namor could be mistaken for a god
However, there is an easy way to solve this problem; it is possible that Namor is not a god, but rather a mutant who has been mistaken for a god. Shots from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailers have shown flashbacks throughout Namor’s life, including his birth, and it appears he carried the signature mark of his mutation, his winged feet, even when he was born. These feet are feathered, so they may have been mistakenly taken to indicate that he is the incarnation of Kukulkán, the feathered serpent god of Talocan. There is certainly precedent for this idea in the comics themselves, where mutants have often been mistaken for gods and sometimes even claimed deity.
Unfortunately for Wakanda, there’s a sense where it doesn’t matter if Namor is a mutant or a god; the Talokanil to believe that he is a deity. Obviously, he will lead the Talokanil into a war against the Wakandans, and the Talokanil would therefore consider it a holy war. As M’Baku points out in the trailers, if the Wakandans manage to defeat Namor, and especially if they manage to kill him, they would face an eternal religious war.
The confusion over Namor could explain where mutants have been
The confusion over Namor might explain why mutants haven’t been seen in the MCU until now; because they have been subject to much confusion. This idea has actually been taken from modern X-Men comics, which have rewritten the origins of mutants. Mutants were traditionally portrayed as the next step in human evolution, but the comics have instead revealed that they have coexisted with humans as a sizable minority all along, and that the history of anti-magical violence and persecution was in reality partially focused. against mutants.
To be honest, this actually makes a lot of sense; there are striking parallels between some mutant powers and supernatural legends (ranging from lycanthropy to telekinesis, from healing to matter transmutation). DNA is a recent discovery, and it’s reasonable to assume that, historically, mutant powers were believed to be of supernatural origin, especially in the MCU, where werewolves, gods, witches, and monsters really do exist. Namor sets a precedent Black Panther: Wakanda Foreveran important one that can help Marvel continue to research mutants in phases 5 and 6.
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