With Namor the Sub-Mariner finally making his film debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Kevin Feige explains why it’s taken so long.
Kevin Feige explains why it took Namor so long to hit the big screen and how Ryan Coogler got him in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Before Feige was a major player at Marvel Studios, Avi Arad ran the company and helped multiple Marvel characters become household names for a new generation. Since Arad didn’t believe that a shared cinematic universe could work at the time, the movie rights of several characters were sold to different studios who all had their own ideas about how to adapt the characters. One Marvel character that would remain stuck in the development line for years was Namor, the Sub-Mariner.
A Namor film was in development as early as 1997 with Universal Pictures behind the production. The intent was to tell an environmental story about Namor trying to save Atlantis from pollution and nuclear underwater testing. Filmmakers like Philip Kaufman, Chris Columbus and Jonathan Mostow were all once attached to directing, but none of them stayed. The Namor project fell apart and ownership of the movie rights was in limbo with neither Universal nor Marvel Studios really in control of who got to adapt the underwater prince’s story. It would be a few more years before it became known that Namor would appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverplayed by Tenoch Huerta.
At the red carpet premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverKevin Feige spoke to reporters from Marvel Entertainment about Namor’s long journey to the big screen. While he certainly had a hand in the final decision, he also gave credit to director Ryan Coogler for his decision to introduce the character to the film. Black Panther continued and to give him a stronger ethnic identity. feige said:
Namor, as Marvel fans know, is one, if not the original…and so it’s on our lists forever. I remember putting it together 18 years ago, I think we even had a script made 18 years ago, and the timing was never right and the idea was never right. Ryan Coogler on the first movie to start a war between kingdoms. And if you’ve really added cultural specificity to Namor, and that’s definitely what he’s done in this movie, and it’s not Atlantis, it’s Talocan and I can’t wait for people to meet the Talocaneal and Namor.
Why Namor was worth the wait
As one of the oldest Marvel characters, it seemed less a matter of if and more of when Namor would join the MCU. There has long been speculation when he will be introduced to the franchise, with many jumping on a simple line of Avengers: Endgame as proof that he existed in the world. But by waiting until now to introduce him, Marvel has been building excitement for Namor’s debut, which saw him arrive in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever really exciting event. Early reactions to the film indicate that Namor is a highlight of Wakanda forever, and it sounds like it’s partly due to the cultural specificity Coolger was trying to give to the character. If it took Marvel that long to find a story and filmmaker that could do Namor justice, then the wait was probably worth it.
Namor make debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was the right move for Marvel. While the Sub-Mariner is an important character in the comics, his background and character would have been hard to come by in a solo outing. By including him as an antagonist, especially much further into the MCU’s run, the filmmakers were able to come up with a new and unique portrayal of Namor without him being portrayed as just Marvel’s version of Aquaman. Huerta already looks intimidating as the sea-based anti-hero, and it’s probably only a matter of time before Marvel develop more projects for him.
Next: Aquaman Isn’t Namor’s Only DC Comparison Problem in Black Panther 2
Source: Marvel Entertainment