A new interview with a key creative behind Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been released that brings attention to a mostly unnoticed connection between Michael B’ Jordan’s Killmonger and Tenoch Huerta’s Namor.
When the first film was released, its villain, also known as Eric Stevens or N’ Jadaka, very quickly became one of the most praised antagonists in all of the MCU’s rogues gallery. So when it came to a sequel, those working on Wakanda Forever had a lot to live up to.
Thankfully, many seem to think they pulled it off, with Huerta’s Ku’kul’kan garnering plenty of praise for his performance as the leader of Talokan, the new underwater nation introduced in the movie.
But little did fans know that there’s a bigger connection between Namor and Killmonger than just being A-tier bad guys.
The Connection Between Namor & Killmonger
While speaking on Wakanda Forever: The Offical Black Panther Podcast, production designer Hannah Beachler talked extensively about a key connection to both Killmonger and Namor.
Beachler pointed out how director Ryan Coogler gave both of his MCU antagonists “many names” to establish their sense of unbelonging:
“Ryan [Coogler] has this great way when it comes to villains of giving them many names, especially when you’re talking about Indigenous people, because one way, I think, he felt that they keep you in a place, is they never let you settle with a name. That’s why Killmonger had many names. And that’s why Namor has so many names as well. But to his people, he’s Ku’kul’kan…”
She went on to point out fun details about Namor in the movie, including having “put the sun and the moon on the doors of his throne room:”
“So, we put the sun and the moon on the doors of his throne room, so we tell the story of the sun and the moon, we tell the story of the establishment of Talokan, all in hieroglyphs which we can now all read. And as well as in his memorabilia room, which you’ll see the spirit god as well in there that he talks about a little bit.”
Beachler also noted that Namor “is part of all three [realms of the underworld]” in Mayan culture:
“We designed the mural tree of the Calabash in that story, so it goes so deep with the three realms of the underworld, the middle realm, the upper realm, which Namor is part of all three of them, because he can breathe underwater, he can walk on land, and he can fly in the sky, so he’s part of all three of the Maya realms. And I just didn’t stop, ever. Because it was so important to me that when… just as I wanted a young African-American or a young Black girl or boy that, in throughout the diaspora, to look at the first Black Panther and feel a sense of pride before we learn about pain.”
The designer shared how she’s a really “big advocate of teaching our children pride before they learn about pain,” a mindset that heavily influenced her work on the film, especially when it came to Namor:
“I’m really a big advocate of teaching our children pride before they learn about pain. There’s plenty of time for that. I wanted the same for any child of Mexico, any Latino child to understand, boy and girl, and be proud of the beauty of that culture that went through a lot of the destruction that the African culture did when it came to the United States, or was trafficked here to the United States. So, I took that really personally. And it was a heavy, heavy responsibility in weight.”
It was important to her that the team “[wasn’t] appropriating or mis-telling the story:”
“It just was really serious to me that this was right and that we weren’t appropriating or mis-telling the story, and I wanted to break down the truth. I wanted to get to it, which nobody really knows, and use my knowledge to create something that was spurred from that, which was Talokan as far as what you see in design and environment.”
Which Black Panther Villain is Next to Connect?
While the connection might not be the most blatant, it's a strong and impactful detail for Coogler to narrow in on.
From a different viewpoint, the various names are also the best way to get the story to those iconic comic book monikers—many of which aren't the easiest to incorporate naturally.
But who might Coogler tackle next, assuming he re-teams with Marvel Studios on a third Black Panther film?
One obvious answer is Doctor Doom—ruler of the fictional nation of Latveria. He even has multiple names to choose from, such as Victor Von Doom, God Doom, or Infamous Iron Man.
Another fun option could be Sekhet, the Lion God, who also goes by Lady of Slaughter.
Coogler has clearly shown he can do great villains, so he’ll no doubt impress when it’s time to make the next movie. Maybe he could throw some of that talent into Avengers: Secret Wars as well.
Avengers: Secret Wars hits theaters on May 1, 2026.