Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is primed to be one of the most crucial projects on Marvel Studios' Phase 4 release slate. The sequel will pay tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman while simultaneously restructuring the hierarchy of power within the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most advanced nation. On top of that, Black Panther 2 will feature the MCU debut of Dominique Thorne's Ironheart and is heavily rumored to incorporate a certain sub-mariner.
Casting calls and set descriptions have pointed to Namor and the Atlanteans playing a prominent role in the second installment, with many fans clamoring for the popular Wakanda/Atlantis feud to be brought to the big screen.
Regardless of how much screen time Namor and company see in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a new rumor indicates their November debut will be just the beginning of Atlantis's MCU tenure.
Black Panther 2 Setting Up Namor Franchise?
The sub-mariner cometh.
According to Bleeding Cool, Namor's rumored MCU debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is viewed by Marvel Studios as "akin to Black Panther's appearance in [Captain America:] Civil War" in regards to its aspirations to launch "an upcoming franchise."
"I am told that Marvel Studios consider Namor's appearance in Black Panther 2 to be akin to Black Panther's appearance in Civil War to set up an upcoming franchise."
The report continues by sharing that Black Panther 2 will focus on "Namor The Sub-Mariner, his cousin Namora and Atlantean warlord Attuma" as the underwater kingdom wages war with Wakanda.
"Much of the reported gossip elsewhere of large has concerned the role of Namor and Atlantis. That there is a war between Wakanda and Atlantis. But Bleeding Cool has heard that there will be a focus in the movies on the characters of Namor The Sub-Mariner, his cousin Namora and Atlantean warlord Attuma."
Ambitious Aspirations for Atlantis
While this report indicates Wakanda Forever is doubling down on their spin-off plans, planting the seeds for a Namor "franchise" is a ambitious addition to the sequel's aspirations.
Unlike Ironheart, a Namor solo film or streaming series has yet to be announced. Even Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther film was confirmed to the public two years before he would make his MCU debut as T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios clearly has big plans for the sub-mariner, but the team is waiting to see how he plays in Black Panther 2 before greenlighting a solo movie.
If Namor does go over well, the possibilities for MCU underwater stories are limitless. Beyond a potential theatrical trilogy, Marvel Studios could flesh out this deep-sea kingdom through a streaming series, spin-off special, and beyond.
Plans for a Namor franchise also indicate the Sub-Mariner is officially back under the Marvel Studios umbrella.
For over two decades, Namor shared a bunk bed with Hulk over at Universal Pictures. While Universal launched two Bruce Banner-centered films during this time, a Namor solo project never saw the light of day. Both Namor and Hulk are said to be back with Marvel today, although Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has admitted that the Sub-Mariner's situation is "not as clean or clear" as others.
For the majority of the 2010s, Universal retained the rights to distribute solo Hulk films, which is why Bruce Banner's narratives have largely played out in team-up flicks like Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel may see Hulk's greatest value coming as a team player, but Namor might be worth the extra effort to secure his solo rights.
Wakanda vs. Atlantis
The report does emphasize the long-running rumors that two of the largest global powers on the Marvel Comics page will clash in November's sequel. This "war between Wakanda and Atlantis" has the potential to dominate Black Panther 2's narrative, but there's no guarantee the two will see eye-to-eye by the film's end.
Still, these leaders of Marvel's most powerful nations may be forced to come to a middle ground regardless of their tensions. The MCU is rumored to integrate a version of Marvel's Illuminati, a faction of Earth's Mightiest elites, into their upcoming storylines. A-Listers like Tony Stark, Stephen Strange, and Professor X make up the roster on the page, with the aforementioned Namor and Black Panther also holding high-ranking positions.
Just as Strange and Stark put their differences aside for the greater good in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Wakanda and Atlantis might see themselves cooperating out of obligation after butting heads here.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever submerges into theaters on November 11, 2022.