While there has been some talk that Marvel Studios has quietly regained the film rights for Namor from Universal Pictures, that has yet to be officially confirmed by Marvel’s chief creative officer Kevin Feige.
However, Feige has already confirmed the studio has access to the character (which could be backed-up by years of Easter Eggs).
Back in October 2018, Kevin Feige told Erick Weber at a special Black Panther screening that they “could” use Namor and were still deciding when that could happen. Weber revealed the exchange on his Twitter account.
OK, here we go, 3 quick questions, answers direct from Kevin Feige's mouth
1) AVENGERS 4 trailer "before the end of the year"
2) Namor COULD make an appearance, still deciding IF & when
3) GUARDIANS 3 status "on hold"
— ?? AWARDS ACE (@ErickWeber) October 26, 2018
Universal holding up future solo Hulk films never stopped the studio from placing him as supporting character in The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
The same thing could happen with Namor if they indeed aren’t planning to give him his solo franchise a supporting character role would fit Namor perfectly considering he’s either at odds with heroes or helping to fight a bigger threat, very much a crossover character.
According to Feige, they already have the right to use him in their films, so I’m not sure why they would need to get the solo stuff back from Universal Pictures.
EASTER EGGS IN THE MCU FILMS
While Marvel hasn’t flat-out used Namor or Atlantis, there have been nods over the years with the studio teasing their eventual arrival in some form or another.
- IRON MAN 2/IRON MAN 3/AVENGERS – The real-life tech company Oracle is featured in multiple MCU films as product placements/ads, however, Oracle happens to be the name of Namor Mackenzie’s company on the surface.
- IRON MAN 2 – Nick Fury’s meta-human map is potentially pointing to Atlantis or an event connected to it as the location on the map is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and South America.
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER – Unused Stark Expo concept art featured man-made underwater cities from Atlantis Enterprises in 1942.
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER: The S.H.I.E.L.D. boat at the beginning of the film was called The Lemurian Star is a nod another group of underwater dwellers who are at odds with Atlanteans.
- THOR: RAGNAROK – What looks to be an Atlantean is one of the Grandmaster’s guards on Skaar, as he is wearing similar amor and a trident-type weapon.
- AVENGERS: ENDGAME – Okoye mentions an underwater earthquake off the coast of Africa. Remember, in Iron Man 2 one of the markers on Nick Fury’s meta-human map was in the middle of the ocean between Africa and South America.
WHEN/WHERE COULD ATLANTIS & NAMOR BE INTRODUCED?
One of the best ways to use Eternals as a history lesson about Atlantis and how it was sunk into the ocean during an event called The Great Cataclysm, when Atlantis was under attack by The Deviants leading to be sunk into the ocean.
The Deviants and Eternals are longtime enemies and will be featured as villains in the upcoming film (first revealed by actor Richard Madden at San Diego Comic-Con 2019).
Feige also confirmed at Comic-Con we’ll see them throughout 35,000 years of human history which gives them the perfect opportunity to introduce The Great Cataclysm from 18,000 B.C. (links Celestials, Deviants, Eternals, and Atlanteans).
FEIGE: “Something entirely different something entirely new for the MCU, a group of immortals who have been on earth for 35,000 years. We haven’t met them before. This film is full Jack Kirby!”
The Great Cataclysm saw The Deviants aligning with Muvians and Lemurians (referenced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier) to attack Atlanteans leading to their coastline sinking sending both Atlantis and Lumeria beneath the ocean.
Eventually, only the Empire of Atlantis remained free on Earth. The Deviants launched an all-out assault on Atlantis, carried out by their human mercenaries (the Muvians who executed a naval invasion and the Lemurians who attacked via airships). To stop Lemurian drilling devices which were being used to penetrate Atlantis’ dome, King Kamuu opened the city’s magma pits. Which drove the Lemurians back, destroying their war machines and drills. Unfortunately, it made Atlantis seismologically unstable, resulting in its coastline sinking beneath the ocean waves.
SHANG-CHI & THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
Namor and Shang-Chi happen to share a link with a team called The Agents of Atlas. Namor’s cousin was a team member in the original lineup led by Jimmy Woo (played by Randall Park in Ant-Man & The Wasp/WandaVision).
Recently in the comics, Shang-Chi joined a modified version that features a bunch of Asian superheroes. An upcoming comic titled Atlantis Attacks, Atlantis and Atlas go to war.
The armies of ATLANTIS face ATLAS in a showdown destined to shake allegiances and break hearts! AMADEUS CHO, SILK, WAVE, SHANG-CHI, and all the heroes of the Atlas have bonded with each other after the challenges of WAR OF THE REALMS. But when a terrible secret incurs the wrath of KING NAMOR, who’s the true friend — and who’s the true enemy? A titanic tale of love and betrayal, heroes and monsters, gods and underdogs — plus the shocking return of JIMMY WOO and the original AGENTS OF ATLAS!
DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
Doctor Strange and Namor were part of a superhero team called The Defenders (the name was recently used for the crossover Marvel Netflix series) which featured Strange, Namor, Hulk, Valkyrie, and Silver Surfer among their ranks.
Former writer/director Scott Derrickson had tweeted out an image of Doctor Strange and Namor then quickly deleted the post. There is a chance he was telegraphing they were going to use Namor and his villains in the film, but that was never confirmed and with his exit not too long ago its up-in-the-air if stuff is going to be in the final version of this sequel.
Namor’s connection to Strange via The Defenders and Illuminati could be enough of a reason to include him in the sequel.
BLACK PANTHER 2
There has been some wild speculation for months that Namor will be the big villain of the Black Panther sequel, despite those rumors surfacing online even before writer/director Ryan Coogler even began the film’s story/outline.
Doctor Doom has also been part of the rumblings as well.
Namor and Black Panther came into conflict on a couple of occasions with a threat of Wakanda and Atlantis exchanging nukes in The Defenders comics, so having them get into some sort of space/arms race via their technology could happen, but that has yet to be confirmed by Marvel at this point.
Atlantis is never afraid of going to war.
While Marvel Studios has the rights to Fantastic Four after acquiring 21st Century Fox, no formal plans have been announced concerning the MCU reboot. Pairing Namor and The Fantastic Four would be a great way to turn him into a supporting character as either the film’s villain or an unofficial member of their team, however, it doesn’t look like that is happening anytime soon and we would expect to see Namor/Atlantis in the MCU before then.
Writer/director Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman, X-Men: First Class) suggested last year he’d be interested in tackling a film featuring the Fantastic Four set during the 1960s.
Ant-Man’s Payton Reed had been developing something similar when the project was still at 20th Century Fox, but never got to make and has stated he’d still be interested in doing it. However, he’s currently busy making Ant-Man 3 (set to shoot next year at Pinewood Studios UK) which will keep him busy until sometime in 2022.
WHO SHOULD PLAY NAMOR?
Here is a list of actors I’d like to see considered for the role of Namor Mackenzie.
Keanu Reeves (Speed, Street Kings, John Wick 1-4, The Matrix 1-4), Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Black Adam), Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Narcos, Game of Thrones, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Triple Frontier, Wonder Woman 1984), Rami Malek (No Time To Die, Mr Robot, The Pacific, Bohemian Rhapsody), Dev Patel (Green Knight, Chappie, Lion, Slumdog Millionaire), Donnie Yen (Mulan, Blade II, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Hero, Ip Man), Henry Golding (Snake Eyes, Last Christman, Crazy Rich Asians, The Gentlemen), and Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight, Predators, 12 Strong).
I don’t think we’ll have to wait too long to hear from Kevin Feige about when we could expect to see Namor since there is going to be a new round of press junkets with Black Widow coming out in the next couple of months and San Diego Comic-Con in July.