Back in July, artist Anthony Francisco revealed that as part of the Marvel Studios Visual Development Dept., he was the one who created the look for Namor from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Now he’s sharing the original concept art.
The first design shows just how close the final product was to the sketch, complete with the Sub-Mariner’s winged feet and pointed ears. Even the nose piercing is there. It also shows Namor in a glorious horizontal pose.
The only thing missing is the facial hair. Take a look:
He then expanded on the design choices a bit. Turns out, at one point Francisco got stuck on the design but took inspiration from ancient Mayans and also dreams.
“The necklace for Namor was a treat to design. Looking to Mayan glyphs and architecture for inspiration! But the break though would come in a dream! I would imagine that I was an artist living in that time and looking for work. I explained that the 2 serpents represented the duality of Kukulkan. He is the bringer of life and death.”
There’a a lot more symbolism as well. “The pearl in his middle represents the sun or life” and the “winged serpent is either presenting you the sun or taking it away from you.”
To help him with the design, Francisco said he watched a lot of documentaries about ancient civilizations. Like the “indigenous people of the north, south Americas as well as in Asia.” He said he looked at similarities and differences and what he could use for the design.
The more he delved the more he realized he felt a connection to what was happening both now and in the past. “The history of Mexico, the colonization of a people and the erasing of their language was some of the sad parts of my research that made this journey a bit emotional to me because I also come from a country colonized by Spain.”
He used the following images, he said, as “part of the beginning process of finding Namor’s design. This was done 1 year before production started. I had 2 months of just explorations!”
The above picture is more in tune with the Namor from the comics. Marvel decided to make some changes to the character for the movie to distance Namor from Aquaman, and ground him in something more urgent in terms of homeland (Namor is from Atlantis in the comics).
Francisco said he would share more concept art as soon as he was allowed. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is playing now in theaters.