At one point, one of Marvel’s highly anticipated mutants never had a chance to make it into the MCU due to confusing movie rights.
According to several sources, Black Panther (2018) was originally going to tease Namor’s arrival into the MCU in a post-credits scene, but Marvel decided to cut it because they had to ensure they had the rights to the super hero. Unlike most Marvel super heroes, Namor was owned by Universal Studios, and Marvel worked on making a movie with the studio for over a decade before giving up.
Now, Tenoch Huerta’s Namor is entering the MCU as one of the first mutants, and yet, the rights to the character almost prevented the character from having a role. The contracts for the character rights were far more complex than they were for other super heroes meaning it took Marvel a few years to clarify who owned the character.
In 2014, Kevin Feige shared an update on the complex issue to IGN with the following statement:
“Yes, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. Let’s put it this way – there are entanglements that make it less easy.”
These “entanglements” were later clarified to be other third parties that had some ties to the character through older contracts despite Universal no longer have the rights to make a Namor movie:
“There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it as opposed to Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in.”
It took several more years for Kevin Feige to share an update about Namor’s character rights, but in 2018 he revealed that the rights for the mutant weren’t as “clean” or direct as they were for Iron Man or Spider-Man.
Yet, Marvel later confirmed that the movie rights were entirely owned by Marvel Studios later that year, but it was too late for Black Panther to include the original post-credit scene as the movie wouldn’t risk creating a controversy over the character due to the movie rights. Thankfully, fans will finally see Namor in live action, even if it took over two decades for it to happen.
More on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Here’s an official synopsis for the movie:
In Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.
Phase Four might be coming to a close, but MCU fans have a lot to look forward to with Phase Five and Phase Six. On Disney+, you can watch Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk. For movies, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder are now on Disney+, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will release in theaters on November 11.