Marvel fans are eagerly awaiting news on the Black Panther (2018) sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which set to hit theaters on July 8, 2022.
Black Panther shattered records, but the follow-up will be going forward without the star that led them to success, Chadwick Boseman, who we tragically lost last year. Now, new rumors are circulating that the villain in Wakanda Forever will be non-other than one of Marvel Comics’ first ever characters.
Wakanda Forever is still a year away from debuting to fans, but they are already speculating how the franchise can move on without T’Challa. Director Ryan Coogler confirmed that they will not recast the role and the title is a tribute to Chadwick Boseman’s legacy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His presence as Marvel’s biggest black superhero has been a key part of the MCU since his introduction in Captain America: Civil War (2016).
New rumors suggest the new Captain America/ Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) could show up to help fill the void left by Boseman in the superhero movie. He does the ow the fictional African nation a debt after they created his new advanced Captain America suit. Though Mackie is sure to be gearing up for Captain America 4, whenever that it headed to the MCU.
Anthony Mackie recently reacted to the title reveal in an interview with ET Online saying it was:
I feel like continuing that legacy is very important. There are a bunch of amazing actors and actresses under that Black Panther mantle who are now going to come together, and that legacy will live on. So, I’m really excited that they’re showing that it’s not specifically about Black Panther, but it’s about Wakanda.
We know that Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) will return as Everette K Ross, and he recently told The Late Late Show With James Corden told fans that the storyline will be “odd.” And Letitia Wright will also come back as Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, as many fans expect she might eat the heart-shaped herb and become the Black Panther as she does in Marvel Comics.
But the question remained, what challenges will the Wakandans and the Dora Milaje be up against in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. One older rumor suggested Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) could somehow return from the dead but new rumors reported on Michael Roman’s Everything Always YouTube channel suggest that Namor the Sub-Mariner could try to take over Wakanda in the absence of its king.
Much like how Killmonger tried to take over Wakanda in the wake of the death of King T’Chaka (Bonisile John Kani), Namor will try to conquer Wakanda to add to Atlantean’s empire. Some evidence that Roman uses to back up his claim is that there are other rumors that Namor will appear as a cameo in Eternals (November 5, 2021).
Who Is Namor?
Marvel fans have been begging for Namor to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years. King Namor was the first mutant ever introduced in Marvel Comics, back in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, created by Bill Everett. He is one of the oldest characters in Marvel Comics, introduced alongside Marvel’s first hero the Human Torch (not to be confused with The Fantastic Four member of the same name).
He was originally described in that comic book issue as:
An ultra man of the deep…lives on land and in the sea… flies in the air… has the strength of a thousand men… is a youth of dynamic personality… quick thought and fast action.
He originally began as a villain, but he has bounced back and forth between nefarious and to a hero multiple times over the years. Prince Namor was briefly an Avenger, though he also battled them repeatedly. Prince Namor has caused trouble for many Avengers including Captain America and the Hulk. Marvel’s Namor recently had a short-lived romance with Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers.
He is the half-Atlantean/half-human ruler of the hidden underwater kingdom. Many compare to the DC Comic book character of Aquaman since they have similar backgrounds. Though the golden age sub mariner comic books did their best to distinguish between the two. Prince Namor was the son of the Atlantean Princess Fen.
The parallels of secret kingdoms of both Wakanda and Atlantis have also tied the two cultures together in the comics. And Namor has gone up against Black Panther before, though they were allies on the Marvel team called Illuminati. He is one of the central Kings of the Marvel Universe alongside Black Panther of Wakanda and Doctor Doom of Latvia.
Marvel Studios got the movie rights to Namor back in 2014, but Kevin Feige has suggested that old contracts involving the distribution rights were hindering his introduction in a solo Namor movie.
Marvel fans thought they caught an Easter Egg in Avengers: Endgame (2019) when Okoye (Danai Gurira) mentioned earthquakes off the coast of Africa and Directors Joe and Anthony Russo never explicitly denied that it could have been caused by Namor.
For many fans, it’s about time for Namor to finally make his presence known. Casting rumors for the role include Ian Anthony Dale (Hawaii Five-O), Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), and Keanu Reeves.
How Would Namor Fit Into Black Panther II
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is sure to be a different experience from its predecessor. It seemed like the Black Panther franchise was only getting its feet off the ground when it tragically lost its King in Chadwick Boseman who has been secretly battling colon cancer.
However, just like Wakanda appeared weak at the start of Black Panther after the death of King T’Chaka to Killmonger, without T’Challa as King it opens the fictional African nation to invasion from its underwater opponent. Prince Namor and the Atlanteans will try to take advantage of the perilous position.
The plan for the Marvel movie seems to have always included a battle with Atlantis. While some aspects of Wakanda Forever will surely have to be adjusted going forward, it seems the team behind the film will be keeping this central conflict.
Let us know in the comments below if you want Namor the Sub-Mariner to become the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe villain.