Why Namor’s Origin Story Was Changed in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Everett Collection / Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally brought Namor to the big screen with the release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The film, which hit theaters on Nov. 11, centers on the people of Wakanda fighting to protect their kingdom after they’re attacked by Namor, who is the leader of an undersea nation named Talokan.

Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta brings Namor (also known as the Sub-Mariner) to life in the film. While his character may sound like a power-hungry villain, Huerta says there’s more to him than meets the eye. In fact, Huerta considers Namor to be more of an antihero. Why? Well, after T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) exposes Wakanda to the rest of the world at the end of the first “Black Panther” movie, Namor feels the kingdom is becoming a threat to his own people, and as a result, he decides to launch an attack on Wakanda.

“Namor loves his people, and he’s gonna protect them because to be a ruler, you have to serve the people,” Huerta says in a “Black Panther” promotional clip. The video also features a scene from the film that shows Namor struggling to understand Wakanda’s intentions. “I need to know if Wakanda is an ally or an enemy,” Namor says in the promo video.

Namor being a morally gray character in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is authentic to the comics. However, there’s one major difference between the live-action version of Namor and the comic-book version. Read on to find out what that is.

Who Is Namor in the Marvel Comics?

Namor was one of the earliest Marvel characters created. In fact, he made his first comic-book appearance in 1939 and is considered to be Marvel’s first mutant. In the comics, his father is a human and his mother is the princess of Atlantis. (Atlantis was changed to Talokan in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but more on that later.) He grows up to be the ruler of the sea kingdom and does everything he can to protect his people from those on the surface.

Who Is Namor in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”?

In “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Namor is not the ruler of Atlantis but Talokan, which is an underwater nation based on Aztec mythology. The film’s director, Ryan Coogler, said because Atlantis has already been seen in various media, he thought it would be interesting to make Namor’s origin story stand apart. “There have been a lot of representations and creative depictions of Atlantis based off of Plato’s Atlantis, the Greco-Roman concept of a city sunk into the sea,” Coogler told Inverse. “We wanted our film to exist alongside those movies and be different. It was really out of respect to the audience, not wanting to give them something similar to other things that have come before it.”

What Are Namor’s Powers in the Marvel Comics?

Due to his mixed genes, Namor has various superpowers in the comics, including the ability to fly and manipulate water. He also has super strength, speed, reflexes, and healing and can use telepathy to control aquatic life. Although he can survive both on land and underwater, he’s much more powerful underwater.

What Are Namor’s Powers in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”?

As we’ve seen in the trailers, Namor pretty much has the same powers in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” that he has in the comics, which is why Coogler thinks Namor is such a threat to Wakanda. “[There’s] no equal in terms of his capabilities, being able to breathe underwater and breathe at high altitudes and walk around on land,” Coogler said in a statement about the film. “He’s incredibly strong, he’s as strong as Thor, and if he’s around enough water he can be as strong as the Hulk.”

Catch Huerta as Namor in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which hits theaters Nov. 11.

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