Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Establishes Namor's Deeper Connection To The Marvel Universe

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is finally out for everyone to experience, and the final film of Phase 4 has so much to offer. Focusing on both old and new worlds, "Wakanda Forever" not only expounds upon the rich world of Wakanda but also introduces an entirely new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the underwater nation of Talokan. A critical component of this nation is its ruler, addressed as K'uk'ulkan by his people, and Namor by his enemies. 

Namor is one of the oldest characters in the Marvel Universe, first appearing in comics in 1939. His introduction in "Wakanda Forever" not only provides an incredible antagonist for the film, but also establishes the character as an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Namor's origins and his place in the current power structure of the MCU are all clearly laid out in "Wakanda Forever," setting up an interesting future for the character alongside tremendous implications about a specific group of characters who have yet to make their debut. Hopefully, in the near future, the mutant ruler of Talokan will have a more prominent role to play in the greater MCU.

The ancient kingdom of the MCU

Namor's story in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" begins in 1571, long before most of the events we've seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Born with a strange powerset after his mother eats a heart-shaped underwater plant (similar to the heart-shaped herb of Wakanda), Namor can breathe in and out of the water, and describes himself as a "mutant" with winged feet and pointed ears. Namor's origin in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has two implications, the first being that Namor and Talokan have long existed in the MCU despite never being seen or mentioned.

The secrecy of Talokan and Namor's firm isolationist stance easily explains away why they've never been seen or mentioned up to this point, despite how long they've been around. However, "Wakanda Forever" also lets viewers know that Namor is well aware of the events of the outside world — Talokan is far from ignorant. It would be safe to assume that Namor knows about other major MCU events besides T'Challa revealing Wakanda to the world. Namor's been around for a long time in the MCU, and the character's longevity is undoubtedly tied to the second critical implication: the character's place as a mutant in the MCU.

Marvel's first mutant

In the film, Namor nonchalantly speaks to Shuri about being a mutant. To Shuri, that's nothing too revelatory — after all, Namor does have superhuman strength and winged feet. However, to fans of the MCU, the fact that Namor uses the word "mutant" has vast repercussions for the MCU. 

Mutants have been a hot point of discussion ever since Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, now called 20th Century Studios. With Marvel Studios now able to incorporate characters from the "X-Men" series of comics, eagle-eyed fans have patiently waited for the first mention of mutants in the MCU. While the first hint of mutants came from the finale of "Ms. Marvel," "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is arguably the first confirmation of their existence in the MCU. Namor is famous in the comics for being considered the first mutant ever published, so it's fitting he's the first to be revealed in the MCU (and likely not the last). 

There haven't been any official announcements about mutant or X-Men-focused projects at Marvel Studios yet, besides the upcoming "Deadpool 3," which will feature the return of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Nevertheless, Namor's journey in the MCU has just begun, with "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" establishing the ancient power of Talokan and its mutant ruler as something to look out for in the MCU's near future. Whether he comes into play in a future "X-Men" film or comes into conflict with another world power besides Wakanda, Namor's MCU roots run deep.