Anticipation for Marvel Studios' newest film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is at a fever pitch. While the trailers have only given a small taste of what the movie has in store, one thing’s for certain: Tenoch Huerta’s Namor is poised to be a fan favorite.
As the ruler of the undersea kingdom of Talocan, Namor winds up coming into conflict with the Wakandans for some yet-to-be-revealed reason. But what has been revealed is a seemingly quite comic-accurate take on one of Marvel’s most enduring characters.
Of course, the Submariner’s classic look is... unique as far as comic book heroes go, with his costume consisting of green swimming trunks and little else. This turned out to be much to Huerta’s chagrin.
Tenoch Huerta on Namor’s Skimpy Costume
Speaking to Men’s Health, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star and Namor actor Tenoch Huerta concisely summed up his reaction to his character’s especially distinct costume:
“The Speedo! F*ck.”
Tenoch noted that he began labeling the outfit as his “shame shorts” on set. The actor added that he didn’t feel he was physically ready to wear such a revealing getup: “I enjoy Mexican food so bad, so I wasn’t in my best shape.”
Fortunately, he was given time to train for the role.
Costume designer Ruth E. Carter also weighed in on her approach to designing the attire for Namor and the rest of the denizens of Talocan.
“We’re imagining a community that’s anchored to its own Indigenous past. We were inspired by all of the pageantry that you see in Mesoamerican history. There are these vases that they painted to depict figures in headdresses and all kinds of clothing that I used to inspire the clothing of the Talocan.”
Carter revealed that she and her team worked with experts in the field of Mayan culture, to ensure that Talocan was depicted just right.
“We worked with historians who were experts on the Mayan culture to learn about what part of the trajectory of the ancient Mesoamerica area we would draw from. And so we looked at beautiful sculptures of different scenes depicting the lifestyle of post-classic Yucatán, and the feathered-serpent figures were the ones that were the most powerful looking.”
Additionally, through his part as Namor in the film, Huerta held a strong degree of reverence for the sense of Mexican representation that Namor will be able to achieve:
“Most Mexicans, we have some Indigenous heritage. We have Indigenous blood in our veins. It was almost impossible to see brown people in Mexican television, movies, commercials. Almost everybody was white and blond. You’d go to a movie theater in Mexico and be like, ’Is this a Danish movie?’ Brown-skinned people were always the thieves, the criminals, the bad guys.”
It is, of course, worth noting that while Namor is traditionally portrayed as an antihero in the pages of the comics, the MCU version is said to be much more nuanced and not as openly antagonistic.
Finally, the actor discussed how his character is portrayed in Black Panther 2 and how the experience was crafted so that “every detail is meaningful.”
“We brought in Mesoamerican scholars—they call themselves Mesoamericanistas—and the production was really open to listening and taking all the experience they could provide. And that makes my character and everything built around him even more deep and profound. Because it’s not just lights and explosions. Every detail is meaningful.”
Namor Looks To Be a Faithful Adaptation
Despite Tenoch Huerta’s issues with Namor’s shorts, it seems, at least judging by trailers and marketing materials, that the character has been brought to life faithfully and respectfully. He even has the little wings on his ankles that he is known for in the comics.
What’s more is that, as mentioned above, Namor, while an antagonist of Wakanda Forever doesn’t necessarily seem to be the film’s “big bad.” This is significant since, as Huerta rightfully explained, Brown-skinned people are often the villains in high-profile movies. Huerta and Marvel Studios have an opportunity to move the needle in the right direction on this one.
Whoever is really pulling the strings of Black Panther 2’s central conflict remains to be seen, but rumors have certainly swirled on that point…
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on Friday, November 11.