While much of the buzz surrounding Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has centered on the film's returning cast and the loss of Chadwick Boseman, this long-awaited sequel has more than one mission to accomplish come November 11.
In addition to paying tribute to Boseman and T'Challa, Black Panther 2 is also set to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe once more.
In returning to Wakanda, Marvel audiences will also discover the underwater world of Talocan and its ruler, Namor the Sub-Mariner.
While the marketing for Black Panther 2 has led fans to believe the Sub-Mariner is this film's villain, Namor's own Tenoch Huerta claims the character's more than that.
And, now, leading up to the film's release, Huerta has a bit more to say - and to tease - concerning Namor the Sub-Mariner and what audiences can expect from him in the future.
Black Panther 2 Star Hints at Namor's MCU Future
When Total Film asked Tenoch Huerta about his character's potential for crossovers and spin-offs, the actor teased Namor's future, saying, "you can create a lot of things with Namor:"
"I hope so! I hope so!! Because I want a bigger contract! I want more zeroes in my contract! No, I’m joking. I mean, the mythology around Namor is huge. You can be crazy with all this cultural aspect, and you can create a lot of things with Namor, because they take a fantastic source of stories and mythology and religion and everything. So I hope they decide to keep going with the character, past its own story or whatever."
Black Panther 2 producer Nate Moore has had nothing but praise for Huerta's performance.
In addition to acknowledging how the actor is "such a soulful performer," Moore also hinted at what audiences can expect from Namor, noting that he's "more powerful than anybody else in the film:"
“Tenoch is such a soulful performer, and so much is happening in his eyes, and in his body language. And he kind of exudes this power, and is, indeed, an incredibly physical character, more powerful than anybody else in the film. Even when we cast Tenoch, we didn’t really [audition] people, because we were looking for a certain quality that he kind of just had in his previous work.”
While Namor is sure to make waves in Black Panther 2, much of the conversation surrounding the sub-mariner has centered on the changes Marvel Studios made in bringing him to live-action.
In the comics, and ever since the character made his debut in 1939, Namor has been from Atlantis - not Talocan. But that's not the only difference.
In the second trailer for Wakanda Forever, Winston Duke's M'Baku notes that "They call him K’uk’ulkan. The Feather Serpent God," suggesting that Namor will be seen as a god-like figure by his people.
However, Marvel Studios hasn't completely abandoned Namor's comic book inspirations. In addition to his pointed ears and ankle wings, the MCU's sub-mariner is also a mutant.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige assured fans that “We were very much true to [the comic history]," but for the MCU, they chose to go "with a revised story that makes it much more culturally specific."
Now, this isn't the first audiences have heard about Marvel Studios' forward-thinking strategy for Namor and his underwater realm.
For months, rumors have been circulating about the MCU's future plans for the sub-mariner and Talocan, claiming that Namor's role in Black Panther 2 is to launch "an upcoming franchise."
Is Namor the Sub-Mariner a Mutant & an Avatar?
In many solo MCU films, villains - including those inspired by the comics - are often used for a single project and then dispatched.
One of the best examples of this is Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher in this past July's Thor: Love and Thunder.
While the Black Panther 2 team has been careful not to give too much away, there appears to be a conscious effort in communicating that will not be the case with Namor.
In addition to the work the film's team put into Talocan's world-building, the character's own unique background allows for future MCU storytelling.
While Namor's mutant status has already been confirmed, and more mutants are on the way with the X-Men, the MCU may also intend for him to be a sort of avatar for the Feather Serpent God.
It will be interesting to see what direction Black Panther 2 takes this new intriguing character and how the film's conclusion - or a post-credits scene - will set up his MCU future.
In the meantime, fans are sure to see and hear more about the sub-mariner and Wakanda Forever as the film's release date approaches.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuts in theaters on Friday, November 11.