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Namor is more than the villain of Black Panther

The latest trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever makes it clear that war is coming. Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the film’s antagonist, rushes like a tidal wave into Wakanda’s darkest hour. It’s an echo of a long-running comic book rivalry between Black Panther and Namor, and while the shape of the story will necessarily be different, the reasons for a Black Panther The sequel with Namor remains just as compelling: he’s not just a villain. He is something else.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Ryan Coogler explains that the MCU version of Namor is a bit different from his comic book counterpart. His realm is not Atlantis, but Talocan, an original creation of wakanda forever, inspired by Mayan culture and intended to be similar to Wakanda; a mythical nation of riches hidden in plain sight.

“The movie is about a lot of things, but one of them is contrasts: people who exist in contrast, but there’s a thread of similarity,” Coogler told EW.

It’s a quote that underscores what makes Namor the perfect Black Panther villain: He is, in many ways, the equal and opposite of T’Challa, the sovereign leader of an unconquered people and fiercely determined to protect them from the outside world. But while in the first Black PantherT’Challa finally learned that it was time to change the ways of his country, it seems that Namor and Talocan have not gone through that growth yet.

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Namor descends into the depths of his throne room wearing an elaborate feathered crown and arms outstretched in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Image: Marvel Studios

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This also echoes T’Challa and Namor’s relationship in the comics. Comics Namor (sometimes called the Sub-Mariner) has a long and complicated history, but his conflict with Black Panther stems from a simple fact that makes them such compelling rivals: they’re not superheroes. They are Kings.

Namor and Black Panther operate on a completely different level than most other characters in the Marvel Universe. They are dedicated to their people first and to all other causes second. This often puts them at odds with characters who would otherwise be their allies: the Avengers for T’Challa, the X-Men for Namor (Comics Namor is a mutant, which is… interesting given that the MCU has begun to use that word). ), and gives its actions broader ramifications for the world at large.

Simply put, when one of these characters enters a story, that story just becomes larger. The best storytellers in comics lean on this (writer Jonathan Hickman’s long tenure at avengers and especially, new avengers deals with the feud between T’Challa and Namor in detail).

The MCU version of this story will sadly have to take a slightly different tack with the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman and, by extension, T’Challa. However, all that narrative weight is still there. Wakanda is bigger than one person, and whoever takes up the mantle of Black Panther will also have to face Namor and test competing philosophies about what kind of person a leader should be, with each other’s pride. nation behind him.

Black Panther and Namor have always been more complicated than good and evil, good and evil. For them, saving the world is not enough: saving a people, their identity and their indelible mark on the world is what really matters.

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