Rick And Morty Nemesis Mr. Nimbus Was A Tribute To Marvel's Namor (And David Bowie)

"Rick and Morty" is a series that thrives on introducing memorable one-off characters every episode. The season 5 premiere, "Mort Dinner Rick Andre," featured one of the most memorable yet: Mr. Nimbus, ruler of Atlantis and Rick's nemesis. Even though Rick treats their rivalry with embarrassment, Nimbus is the first character he's genuinely afraid of.

Voiced by series co-creator Dan Harmon, Nimbus is flamboyant and promiscuous, with a fondness for pelvic thrusts and referring to himself in the third person. He's also super-powered, being able to control water, sea life, and, somehow, the police (the episode hilariously never explains this, Rick just declares with exasperation, "He's Mr. Nimbus, he controls the police!"). During the episode, Nimbus stops by the Smith house to negotiate a peace treaty to his feud with "Richard." Nimbus ends the episode as one of the only characters to have triumphed over Rick, sending him to jail while he has a one-night stand with Beth and Jerry.

Both "Mort Dinner Rick Andre" writer Jeff Loveness and "Rick and Morty" producer Scott Marder have confirmed Nimbus is a mash-up of Namor the Sub-Mariner and David Bowie.

Nimbus' inspiration

Loveness tweeted the night of the episode's premiere that it would feature, "A horny ocean Emperor." He was clearly referring to Mr. Nimbus, but that description applies to Namor as well. Initially one of Timely Comics' heroes during the Golden Age of the 1940s, Namor was revived in the 1960s by the rebranded Marvel comics. Now, he was a foe of the Fantastic Four, his goal being to woo Sue Storm away from Reed Richards. While he's become more of an anti-hero as time's gone on, he's never fallen out of love with "Susan."

Nimbus is more fish-like than Namor, with visible gills, and lacks the Sub-Mariner's winged ankles. Otherwise, though, his appearance is a dead-ringer for Namor, from the speedo to the trident. Nimbus also shares Namor's inflated self-importance and protectiveness of his ocean domain. However, Namor is often a more sullen, brooding character. That's where the David Bowie inspiration comes in; Nimbus' ostentatiousness and androgynous facial features are reminiscent of Ziggy Stardust.

Then there's his name; "Nimbus" is a Latin-word equivalent to a halo and is also an outdated term for a rain cloud. Quite a fitting for a water-themed demigod.

So, does Mr. Nimbus add anything to "Rick and Morty" beyond laughs? Season 5 is when we finally learn Rick's canonical backstory, with details coming in episode 8 "Rickternal Friendshine of the Spotless Mort," and the whole picture being revealed in the finale, "Rickmurai Jack." Nimbus, as an old-friend-turned-enemy of Rick, hints at this, especially when he name-drops Rick's late wife Diane.

No mere Marvel fan

Speaking to The Wrap, Marder recalled that the initial idea for Nimbus was simply "a nemesis of Rick we haven't seen [before]." Loveness came up with the idea of making the nemesis a parody of Namor because, "he's such a big Marvel comic book guy."

The Marvel references don't end there. In the episode's opening, there's a peek at an alternate dimension where Rick and Morty are vampire hunters dressed like Blade. In the aforementioned tweet, Loveness also states that the episode contains references to "90s X-Men." This is likely referring to a scene where Adam, an inhabitant of an alternate dimension Morty has inadvertently terrorized throughout the episode, trains by sparring with holograms, akin to the X-Men's Danger Room.

Loveness is no mere Marvel fan though. He's written for Marvel comics before, including titles like "Groot" and "Nova," as well as a backup story in "The Amazing Spider-Man #900." He's also writing "Ant-Man and Wasp: Quantumania" — considering Loveness' background in sci-fi comedy and clear love for B-list Marvel characters, that's a perfect fit. Since Namor himself is also being introduced to the MCU in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" later this year, maybe Loveness will get a chance to write the original horny ocean emperor in the future MCU.