Namor Rights Back At Marvel Studios, According To Joe Quesada

It may feel at times like Marvel Studios is slowly taking over the world, but the truth is even their cinematic universe has its limits. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four remain off-limits, for example, because they're still set up at Fox, and it was only recently that they were able to work out a deal with Sony to share Spider-Man.

And then there's Namor. The Sub-Mariner has been off by himself at Universal, cursed to tread water for years while his planned film keeps falling apart. But the spell may finally be broken. According to Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, the Namor rights have reverted to Marvel, meaning he can finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That is, if they'll have him. 

Quesada addressed the Namor rights during an appearance on Kevin Smith's Fat Man on Batman podcast. Here's the relevant exchange, starting around the 41-minute mark. Smith's questions (in bold) and Quesada's answers are transcribed below.

Where is the Sub-Mariner, by the way? Who has that?

We do. He's in the comics.

No, what studio? How come you guys aren't diving into the water?

I can't speak for studios.

Is it elsewhere? The same people that own Iron Man, have Sub-Mariner? 

As far as I know, yeah we do. It's not at Fox, it's not at Sony.

Of course, Namor was never at Fox or Sony. The problem was that he was at Universal. It seems odd that Quesada wouldn't name Universal, and it makes me wonder if he's confused about the latest updates on the Namor rights. He has been wrong before: Back in 2012, Quesada stated Namor was back at Marvel, only for Kevin Feige to clarify in 2013 that, nope, Namor was still at Universal. More recently, in 2014, Feige said that if a Namor film were to happen, it'd be Marvel, not Legendary or Universal, making it — but added that the contracts and deals would be "complicated."

Assuming Quesada has his facts straight this time, though, and that Marvel really has cleared up any legal issues surrounding Namor, this means the character is free to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whether he'll actually get to is another question. When Smith asked Quesada whether Namor would appear in the franchise, Quesada would say only, "I cannot confirm nor deny, sir." And seeing as Marvel's already got its plans mapped out for the next several years, it's unlikely we'll get a Namor movie before 2019 or 2020.