Black Panther 2 Star Tenoch Huerta Landed The Role Of Namor Without Knowing How To Swim

When the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" trailer debuted at San Diego Comic Con this year, it was to a worldwide outpouring of love and emotion. The trailer paid sincere homage to the late actor Chadwick Boseman, and introduced a storyline that looks like it will live up to fans' expectations for the long-anticipated sequel to one of Marvel's best films.

But the "Wakanda Forever" trailer also featured something else that instantly grabbed fans' attention — or rather, someone else: Namor, a fan-favorite antihero known as much for his perpetual shirtlessness as for his superpowers. Tenoch Huerta ("Narcos: Mexico") will play the half-Atlantean character in the new film, and though he's always been an aquatic being in Marvel Comics, the actor recently revealed to Life and Style that he wasn't exactly an ace swimmer before being cast in the part.

'I've never drowned'

"They also asked if I knew how to swim," Huerta told the outlet, describing a Zoom conversation he had with Ryan Coogler in a Spanish-language interview translated partially by ScreenRant. "I replied that I've never drowned and went back to my managers." In reality, the actor couldn't swim, but used the one of the oldest tricks in the book: say yes, then figure it out later. "Of course, I didn't say anything then because they wouldn't have given me the part," he explained, revealing that he had his U.S. team explain to Marvel that "that's how us Mexicans are. We never say no, and then we see what's going on."

Fortunately, Huerta learned to swim before production began on "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," a project that will almost certainly see him spending lots of time in water. The trailer only briefly shows Namor, including in a shot from behind as his imposing frame rises from the water, trident in hand. In Bill Everett's original comics and other Marvel arcs since, he's the son of a sea captain and an Atlantis-born royal, and he spends a lot of his time literally swimming with the fishes.

The actor told Life and Style he trained and prepared for the role before spending over eight months shooting in Atlanta. He also, hilariously, revealed that his yes-first attitude extended even beyond the swimming question: Huerta says that fateful Zoom call froze right as he was initially being offered the part, so he didn't realize it was for the role of Namor until a couple of days later. Hopefully, it'll turn out to be a role he takes to like a fish in water. 

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" premieres in theaters November 11, 2022.