Don’t hold your breath for a Namor solo movie to be made any time soon. According to Nate Moore, VP of Marvel Studios Production and Development, the rights are tied with Universal.
Namor (played by Tenoch Huerta) serves as the main antagonist in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Many fans have noted how widely different from the source material the origins of the MCU version are, including the Mayan influences and vastly different look, although is still apparently a mutant.
However, these changes may be deliberate due to the rights entanglement with Universal. Check out the details revealed below.
Talking with TheWrap, Wakanda Forever producer and Marvel Studios VP Nate Moore shared what the status is on Namor’s solo theatrical rights.
— TheWrap (@TheWrap) November 25, 2022
The Marvel Studios VP elaborated on how Namor could be used in the Black Panther sequel, with some alterations:
It honestly affects us more, and not to talk too much out of school, but in how we market the film than it does how we use him in the film. There weren’t really things we couldn’t do from a character perspective for him, which is good because clearly, we took a ton of inspiration from the source material, but we also made some big changes to really anchor him in that world in a truth that publishing never really landed on, I would argue, in a big way.
Moore goes on to say that Ryan Coogler’s ideas on changing Namor helped flesh the character more than the comics did with the Atlantean origins, while keeping within the limits imposed by Universal’s rights over the material:
I’ve read every Namor comic ever written and I love them, but the world of Atlantis is a little vaguely drawn. It’s maybe kind of Roman maybe. And so, Ryan is such a detail-oriented filmmaker that he wanted to anchor into something that felt as tangible and real as hopefully Wakanda fuels for people. And I think there was nothing from a business side anyway that was preventing us from doing that, which is great.
Namor the Sub-Mariner was one of the characters Marvel Entertainment had sold off the rights during the company’s low point, under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the 1990s.
Just like the Incredible Hulk, Namor fell under Universal Studios and was being prepped for a major motion picture release. After Ang Lee’s Hulk in 2003, a Sub-Mariner film received several treatments, but none of which came to fruition.
Of course, 2008’s Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. changed everything. As the first movie independently produced by Marvel Studios, it paved the way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it today.
However, the main difference is that Marvel owned the rights to Iron Man completely, which is now under the Walt Disney Company. Namor, on the other hand, will never have a solo movie as long as Universal holds the rights. Because of the rights issues, Disney would have to produce a Namor solo movie at a loss, as most of the profits would go to Universal Pictures, which means it will likely never happen.
But while we may never see a solo Namor Marvel Studios film, he can still appear as a secondary character, as he did in in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It is very likely he will at least be involved in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Avengers: Secret Wars.
For now, Marvel fans can catch Tenoch Huerta’s "boy without love" take on Namor, the Avenging Son in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters.