Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is Namor’s introduction to the MCU played by rising star Tenoch Huerta. Now that he’s here it’s only a matter of time before he meets the Fantastic Forever.
As Wakanda defends itself on the world stage after King T’Challa’s death, they also have to solve a crisis from another nation. The United States finds Vibranium in the depths of the ocean and incurs the wrath of Talokan, the underwater nation that’s been kept secret for centuries. Its inhabitants react by killing the people aboard the rig and Namor wants the scientist responsible for the Vibranium detector — highly intelligent MIT student Riri Williams/Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) — to send a message, but Wakanda won’t let that happen, which means war is on the way.
The MCU origin of Namor
Namor’s origin revealed in the movie is one of great tragedy. In the 16th century, Spanish colonizers came to Yucatán, enslaved its people, and spread diseases. An indigenous group all decided to create a concoction using vibranium-enriched plants to heal and strengthen them, but Namor’s mother was uncertain because she was pregnant. She was told that it would be good for her baby, and she agreed to it. Its effects turned everyone blue and it gave them the ability to breathe underwater.
When Namor was born, he retained his natural skin color and could still breathe on the surface world. He had superior strength, winged feet, and he was revered by his people. They called him K’uk’ulkan, also known as the Feathered Serpent God, and he became a symbol to his people. When his mother died, he went to bury her in the surface world, and he saw just how savage the colonizers were. Namor exacted revenge against the estate and freed the enslaved people who were there. One of the conquerors as he was dying said he was a boy without love, and that’s where he got his name from.
The comic book origin of Namor
In the comics, Namor was born the son of the Atlantean Princess Fen – the daughter of Emperor Thakkor, and his father was an American sea captain – Leonard McKenzie. Leonard used explosives to break up ice in the Antarctic and accidentally damages Atlantis. Princess Fen comes aboard the ship, and instead of attacking, they fall in love and eventually have a son together. He becomes the prince of Atlantis and has both Atlantean and mutant powers, which makes him one of the most formidable characters in the Marvel universe.
He’s got super-strength (he’s Hulk-level strong in the water), telepathy to control sea life, flight, water manipulation, superhuman durability, heightened reflexes, and he can mimic certain water creature abilities. Atlantean magic flows through Namor’s veins and his royal blood can be used for powerful spells. He’d use these powers in various conflicts and always had Antlantis’ best interest at heart. Sometimes he was a villain and other times he was a hero depending on the situation. He’s gone from fighting Nazis to flooding Namor and it’s this dichotomy that makes Namor one of Marvel’s most iconic anti-heroes.
Namor meets the Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four issue #4 was an iconic story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and an important story for Namor’s history. After the telepathic mutant Paul Destine created earthquakes in Atlantis and wiped Namor’s memory using the Serpent Crown, Namor no longer knew who he was. For years Namor walked on land believing he was a normal civilian, but when Johnny Storm/Human Torch sees him and recognizes him, he decides to restore his memory by dropping him into the ocean.
Namor’s memories return and he goes back to his undersea kingdom, only it’s been destroyed. There was a radioactive glow in the water and Namor deduces that the humans are at fault and he promises vengeance on them. He says that Johnny shouldn’t feel proud about what he’s done, because by bringing his memories back, he’s damned humanity. Classic Namor.
Fantastic Four in the MCU
Aspects of this could actually make for a good entryway for the Fantastic Four. Namor and the Fantastic Four have a longstanding relationship and it would make sense with Namor already being established to use him when it comes time to bring in Marvel’s favorite foursome. The amnesia bit is a bit too tropey, but Namor could start off working alongside the Fantastic Four against a common cause or enemy. He was depicted as diplomatic in Wakanda Forever, willing to speak with Shuri and show her his homeworld, so he’s not beyond looking for common ground.
The Skrulls are playing a major part in the MCU’s future, and the Super-Skrull could be a likely enemy for both sides. Kl’rt was a soldier in the Skrull army who was given the powers of the Fantastic Four. Under the rule of Emperor Dorrek VII, he was sent to conquer Earth after the Skrulls’ last attempt failed. He was a difficult combatant for the team, and with his threats of world domination, it would also impact the seas, which would include Namor’s Talokan.
We’d get to see Namor open up a bit and more of that heroic side that he also has in the comics. Namor and Sue Storm/Invisible Woman are notorious for having romantic chemistry, despite her being married to Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, and this could be developed here. And having a budding friendship between Namor and Johnny could make his turn against them more dimensional. Something could go awry in their plans. Perhaps the organization or institute Reeds works for could be gathering intel on Namor or Talokan (similar to what MIT did in Wakanda Forever), and Namor could take offense, vowing revenge on the Fantastic Four and the organization.
The Fantastic Four movie is set to release in 2025 and there’s still so much we don’t know. People are still hoping that real-life married couple John Krasinski will play Reed Richards and Emily Blunt will play Sue Storm, but there hasn’t been any official confirmation. One of the things that fans have yet to see is Namor and the team facing off against each other, making it a friends-to-enemy story would be satisfyingly sweet.