Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sees the introduction of Namor, the latest villain to enter the MCU.
He’s the leader of the Talokan, an underwater Atlantis-like blue-skinned race living entirely in secret – until American forces in search of precious metal Vibranium come right to their watery doorstep. Desperate to protect his people, he is ready to go to war with the surface dwellers he has come to hate. With wings on his feet, allowing him to fly above ground, he also wields great Hulk-like strength.
Playing Namor is Tenoch Huerta, the Mexican actor who featured in Sin Nombre, the 2009 film by No Time To Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga. More recently, he’s been seen in Netflix drugs drama Narcos: Mexico and The Forever Purge, the fifth film in the ongoing horror franchise. Raised in the Mexico City neighbourhood of Ecatepec, Huereta is the first actor to play a major MCU character with a Mesoamerican background, making Namor’s arrival a major moment when it comes to representation in the film series.
In the comics, however, Namor has been around for years. The character also known as the Sub-Mariner made his bow in 1939, created by writer-artist Bill Everett. Said to be the first known comic book antihero, this mutant son of a human sea captain and the princess of Atlantis has fought both alongside – and occasionally against – such Marvel staples as the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Invaders, the Defenders, the X-Men, and the Illuminati.
It’s also not the first time Namor has been considered for the big screen, with plans afoot as far back as 1997, with the mooted Philip Kaufman-directed film, Namor: Sub-Mariner. While that was the first of many iterations of the script, the difficulty in bringing such an esteemed Marvel character to the screen was also due to Universal holding the rights for years. In Wakanda Forever, however, he’s finally able to make his bow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.