According to Marvel Studios, the production of a standalone film based on Namor from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by Tenoch Huerta has been prohibited.
One of the most well-liked Phase 4 newcomers among fans is Huerta’s MCU villain.
One would anticipate that since the Sub-Mariner from Black Panther 2 has become such a fan favorite, the character’s next step would be a solo movie. Well, it might not be so easy because Universal still owns the rights to the Incredible Hulk-like character played by Mark Ruffalo.
And it appears that the complex web of rights management impacted the possibility of a standalone film centered on the character and how Wakanda Forever could have been promoted before its release.
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Namor Failed to Notice the Wakanda Forever Marketing Machine
As part of the complex Namor rights situation, according to Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore, Namor films are not allowed to be made after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Ternoch Huerta’s Namor “can return” to the MCU, according to Moore, who was speaking with The Wrap, but it won’t be through a standalone movie starring the character.
In the same sentence, he added that unless it was a part of a series of posters, Marvel Studios was not permitted to use the Black Panther 2 villain in the movie’s marketing campaign.
The character only made a few solo appearances in the run-up to the movie. Still, they were all included in a collection of character posters for each significant character in the MCU saga.
According to Moore, the character’s rights situation has a more significant impact on “how [they] market the film” than “how [they] use him in the film:”
“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.”
Because they “took a tonne of inspiration from the source material,” he said, “there weren’t things [they] couldn’t do.”
“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 praised Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler for his approach to Namor’s character as well as the surrounding underwater environment and how he avoided legalities:
“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,
What Is Namor’s MCU Future in the Face of Rights Issues?
Given how fully developed Namor is in the Black Panther sequel, it would be difficult for someone to know that he is mired in legal limbo, much like the Hulk. However, it appears to impact how he is portrayed in promotional materials and the likelihood of a solo film.
Fans need not fret, though, as Universal still holds the film rights to Namor. Tenoch Huerta’s villain won’t go unnoticed just because the studio is prohibited from making a Namor-focused solo movie.
Just look at what the MCU did with Hulk in a comparable circumstance. Even though they haven’t produced a standalone Hulk movie since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, the character has remained essential to the franchise’s DNA and has appeared in support roles in six Marvel Studios productions over the past ten years. And there is some hope that a potential agreement could be reached for yet another hulk-sized blockbuster for the big screen.
And that’s probably what will happen with Huerta’s Sub-Mariner. There will be more about him and the Talokan universe, though it might not be in the form of a standalone film.