Without naming any DC hero in particular, ‘Black Panther 2’ director explains why Namor isn’t the ruler of Atlantis

namor black panther wakanda forever
via Marvel Studios

When Namor was first confirmed to be making his long-awaited Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the first thought to cross many people’s minds had a lot to do with Hollywood’s other marquee comic book franchise.

Obviously, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman became the highest-grossing DC adaptation of all-time after soaring past $1.1 billion at the box office, so the burning question was whether or not there was enough room for two superheroes existing at the same time who each happened to be the ruler of Atlantis in their universe.

As it turns out, the simple answer was to establish that Tenoch Huerta’s Namor isn’t from Atlantis at all, but rather Talocan. It’s a move that makes sense in a number of ways, and without directly naming the competition even though we know exactly what he’s talking about, director Ryan Coogler broke down the creative decision in an interview with Inverse.

“There have been a lot of representations and creative depictions of Atlantis based off of Plato’s Atlantis, the Greco-Roman concept of a city sunk into the sea. That idea exists in a lot of different ways. We wanted our film to exist alongside those movies and be different. It was really out of respect to the audience, not wanting to give them something similar to other things that have come before it.”

It’s a new Atlantis, then, but don’t call it Atlantis. Based on the overwhelmingly positive reception afforded to both Wakanda Forever and Namor so far, the bugbears from diehard comic book readers decrying the movie for changing the Sub-Mariner’s origins very ironically don’t seem to be holding a great deal of water.