Following the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Super Bowl trailer, Marvel fans are convinced that Namor the Sub-Mariner is finally about to make his live-action debut. The latest preview of the Benedict Cumberbatch sequel dropped some major bombshells, most notably the confirmation that Patrick Stewart will be reprising his role as Professor X from Fox’s X-Men movies.
This blows the doors wide open for multiple other fresh faces to appear alongside him, as Charles Xavier’s cameo indicated that a key superhero team from the comics will unite in Doctor Strange 2. And Namor is one of them, causing the hero’s name to trend on Twitter for hours in the wake of the trailer’s release. But who is Namor and why is he much more than just Marvel’s answer to Aquaman? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Namor the Sub-Mariner?
Debuting in the pages of Timely Comics in 1939 (two years before DC’s similarly themed Aquaman arrived), Namor was created by writer/artist Bill Everett, who went on to co-create Daredevil. The king of Atlantis, Namor is the mutant son of a human sea captain and an Atlantean princess. What sets the Sub-Mariner apart from most Marvel characters is his status as an anti-hero. With his volatile personality and dislike of surface-dwellers, he’s sometimes an ally of the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, but at other times, he’s their enemy.
Often called “Marvel’s first mutant,” Namor has all the usual Atlantean abilities, including an amphibious physiology that grants him superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, and the ability to withstand extreme undersea pressures. Enhanced senses also allow him to see in the depths of the ocean. His mutant genes, however, give him the power of flight. He has also an extended lifespan — Namor is around 100 years old but still looks in his prime.
Typically fighting alongside his cousin Namora and love interest Dorma, some of Namor’s most persistent foes include supervillain Tiger Shark, militant Atlantean Attuma, and the warlord Krang. Namor also has a complicated relationship with Doctor Doom, as they sometimes work on the same side even though they can’t stand each other.
Why would Namor be in Doctor Strange 2?
Though rights issues with Universal kept Namor out of Marvel Studios hands for years, it’s believed that Kevin Feige has been quietly untangling the situation behind the scenes. Namor has long been suspected to appear in Phase Four, then, with rumors pointing to him playing a major role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta has been linked to the part, although fans frequently cite Luke Evans as their perfect pick.
While the jury’s still out on his Black Panther 2 appearance, the evidence is stacking up that Namor will turn up in Doctor Strange 2 first. And it’s all to do with the Illuminati. A secret society of genius-level superheroes, the comic book Illuminati consists of Professor X, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Namor. Stewart’s cameo in the trailer strongly appears to take place in the Illuminati’s HQ, with six chairs displayed, reflecting the group’s half-dozen members.
It’s also worth pointing out that Namor was likewise one of the founding members of the Defenders in the comics, as was Stephen Strange. The Super Bowl trailer confirmed that a variant of the sorcerer based on his Defenders look will feature in the movie, yet another hint that Namor’s involved somehow.
With Aquaman starring in his own blockbuster sequel this December, Marvel would be smart to introduce their own Atlantean hero soon. Watch out for a Namor cameo when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness enters theaters on May 6.