Huerta's MCU villain has quickly picked up steam as one of fans' favorite Phase 4 newcomers.
As Black Panther 2's Sub-Mariner has become such a fan-favorite, one would expect the next step to be a solo film for the character. Well, it might not be so simple, as Universal retains the rights to the character similar to Mark Ruffalo's Incredible Hulk.
And it seems this tangled web of rights management affected how Wakanda Forever could be marketed before release and the potential for a standalone movie centered on the character.
Namor Missed the Wakanda Forever Marketing Machine
Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore revealed that as a part of the complicated rights situation surrounding Namor, is blocked from making a Namor movie after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Speaking with The Wrap, Moore said Ternoch Huerta's Namor "can return" to the MCU, but it cannot be by way of a standalone film centered on the character.
In the same breath, he added that Marvel Studios was not allowed to use the Black Panther 2 villain as a part of the film's marketing campaign unless it was a part of a series of posters.
The character appeared on his own only a few times in the lead-up to the film, but they were all a part of a collection of character posters for every major player in the MCU epic.
Moore told the outlet that the rights situation with the character affects more "how [they] market the film," rather 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.”
He noted that "there weren’t really things [they] couldn’t do," which helped because they "took a ton of inspiration from the source material:"
“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 take on not just the character of Namor, but the underwater world around him, and how he skirted around 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 Amid Rights Issues?
For those that did not know Namor was actually tangled up in legal limbo, similarly to the Hulk, it would be hard to tell seeing how fully fleshed out he is in the Black Panther sequel. However, it will seemingly have an effect on how he is showcased in marketing materials and the potential of a solo film of his own.
But fans should not worry that Universal seems to still own the film rights for Namor. Just because the studio is barred from making a Namor-focused solo film, does not mean Tenoch Huerta's villain will be left by the wayside.
Just look at what the MCU has done in a similar situation with Hulk. They have not made a solo Hulk film since 2008's The Incredible Hulk, yet the character has remained intrinsic to the DNA of the franchise, appearing in a supporting role in six Marvel Studios projects over the last decade. And there's some hope that a potential deal could be worked out for another hulk-sized big-screen blockbuster.
And that is likely going to be the case with Huerta's Sub-Mariner. He and the world of Talokan will be heard from again, it just might not be by way of a standalone movie.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever can be seen in theaters worldwide now.