Having officially been teased in Avengers: Endgame, most people are expecting Namor to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut during either Phases Four or Five. The fan favorite character has been rumored to be getting the live-action treatment for years now, and found himself heavily linked with being Black Panther 2‘s villain.
However, the Sub-Mariner may have actually made his cinematic bow almost two decades ago in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, although you’d be hard-pressed to glean that information from simply watching the movie. Instead, the novelization offers more context, and it certainly sounds like a very deep cut from comic book history.
In Spider-Man 2, a garbage man brings Peter Parker’s discarded costume to the Daily Bugle offices, much to the delight of J. Jonah Jameson. The newspaper publisher tells his secretary Betty Brant to pay the man a hundred dollars for his troubles and throw in a bar of soap, which marks his only involvement in the story.
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However, the novelization goes on to describe a further interaction between the garbage man and Betty, where he thanks her by bowing after she adds a couple of extra bills onto his payout without telling Jameson, and explains to her that he used to be royalty but can’t remember where. As trivial as that sounds, it’s directly tied to one of Namor’s earliest comic book stories.
In the fourth issue of Fantastic Four, Johnny Storm discovers Namor living on the streets, with the ruler of Atlantis having lost his memory and grown a shaggy beard. The connection is obviously just an Easter Egg thrown into the novelization to appeal to the diehards, but it still establishes that both Namor and Atlantis are technically canon in the Sam Raimi trilogy.