Who is Namora? ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ anti-heroine, explained

Mabel Cadena as Namora in 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
Photo via Marvel Studios

To call Black Panther: Wakanda Forever the most anticipated movie of the year would be an understatement. Rarely does cultural impact, the loss of a star and a superhero movie all come together in what feels like cosmic poetry—however tragic.

The movie could be called Black Panther: Paint Drying and it would still break a box office record. It’s already smashing through the weekend, despite mixed reviews, and part of the fun are the new characters thrown into the mix.

The movie’s antagonist, Namor, has the distinction of being Marvel’s very first superhero in the comics, introduced in 1939. Because Marvel didn’t want the character to be too similar to Aquaman, it decided to change his backstory.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE. STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW PLOT DETAILS OF THE MOVIE.

Namor is the ruler of an underwater kingdom called Talokan, which in the movie initially sees Wakanda as a threat. Namor’s also has a group of loyal warriors that act as his guard and advisers. One of those is Namora. So who is she?

Who is Namora in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?’

Marvel Studios

Namora (Mabel Cadena) is a female Talokanil who acts as Namor’s second in command. She’s also his cousin. She advises Namor on matters affecting Talokan along with fellow MCU newcomer Attuma, and she’s a fierce warrior who lets her fighting ability do the majority of the talking.

Namora is tactically smart. During her battle with Riri Williams, she holds her own and works to complete the mission of capturing the young scientist instead of getting caught up in a battle with Okoye. She’s incredibly loyal and basically fearless.

When some of her fellow Talokan warriors were forced to fall back because of a sonic apparatus on the ship the Royal Sea Leopard, she risked her life to destroy it so her team could keep moving forward and fighting.

As a Talokanil warrior, Namora has super strength, enhanced physical resistance, super speed, super agility, healing factor and super reflexes, which she demonstrated when a policeman shot at her and she deflected it with her spear.

Namora wants to protect her homeland and way of life at any cost, and will basically kill whoever stands in her way. She is the ultimate warrior and we’ll probably see more of her in the MCU in the future.

Who is Namora in the comic books?

Marvel

Like Namor, Marvel’s comic book Namora goes back a ways—to the 1940s. She’s still Namor’s cousin but she lives in the underwater kingdom Atlantis, which was changed for the movie because Marvel wanted it to be different from Aquaman.

She’s half-human, half-Atlantean with all the same powers as her MCU counterpart. She had her own comic in 1948 but it only ran for three issues. There is also a comic book storyline where she was best friends with Namor growing up and they discovered their powers and went on adventures together.

She’s popped up in quite a few comics over the years. At one point she died and there was a clone that was her daughter called Namorita. She even dated Kraven the Hunter at one point and also joined a black-ops version of the Avengers to take down Red Skull.

In 2006 she was featured in the “Agents of Atlas” along with M-11, Gorilla-Man, Uranium, and Venus. Later she joined up with the Hulk. She most recently appeared in 2020’s “Atlantis Attacks.”