Marvel dropped several bombs during San Diego Comic Con 2022 and fans everywhere can’t get enough of them. And while announcements for massive Phase 5 and 6 projects took the air out of everyone at Hall H, such as Daredevil: Born Again, Thunderbolts, Fantastic 4, and the two new Avengers films, these are still years away from reaching the big screen. The closest, though, that can immediately impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the first appearance of Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November of this year.

With the Sub-Mariner making a successful jump from the comics to the MCU, there will be a lot of questions that come along with it. We take a deep dive down below at one of Marvel’s earliest heroes and what he could mean to Marvel’s future.

What Marvel fans need to know about Namor before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes out

Marvel’s first superhero

In a universe where Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and other more popular superheroes exist, it’s a shocker to learn that one of these characters wasn’t the first Marvel introduced. In this regard, Namor is the first among his peers to make it onto the pages of the company’s comics.

First introduced in April 1939, Namor first appeared on the pages of Motion Pictures Funnies Weekly #1. This issue preceded the company’s Marvel Comics #1, which was released in August of the same year and featured the first appearance of the original Human Torch. Technically, this places Namor as the very first superhero made by Marvel.

In his first appearance, Namor was introduced as the son of an Atlantean woman and a human sailor, making him a hybrid of both races. While his origin dealt with him going up against the human race for killing Atlanteans, Namor would tread the line between being a superhero and an anti-hero over the decades. What is certain, though, is his primary motivation is to protect Atlantis at all costs, an element that will surely be seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Namor is a mutant

Apart from being known as Marvel’s first superhero, Namor is also regarded as a mutant. Similar to the X-Men, he possesses the X-Gene, even though he himself is a hybrid borne from an Atlantean and a human.

As compared to his Atlantean brethren, Namor doesn’t possess their blue skin. This lone detail already sets him apart from them. Add the fact that he has flight and super-strength, two of his known abilities, makes Namor stand out as one of the earliest mutants in the comics. This also puts him among the first very mutants in the MCU when Wakanda Forever releases this year.

Namor’s vast affiliations

Since Namor has been in the comics since 1939, it’s not really surprising that the Sub-Mariner counts himself among the greatest teams in Marvel’s history. Some of them aren’t even that well-known to fans of the MCU.

First off, we have the Invaders, a group of super-powered individuals led by Captain America to combat Adolf Hitler and Axis forces during World War II. From there, Namor would find himself joining the original Defenders, Avengers, X-Men, and even the Fantastic Four. In recent years, it was also discovered that Namor was part of the Illuminati, a group of influential personalities in the superhero community that came together to defend the Earth in secret and without the approval of their peers.

Changes for the MCU

In the comics, Namor was drawn as a well-built male with features leaning toward that of Asian ancestry. He was also known as the ruler of Atlantis and the staunch defender of the seas against those who would lay claim to or abuse his empire.

That depiction in the comics isn’t what’s going to be seen when Namor appears in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Instead of the features seen in the comics, the character played by Tenoch Huerta and the entire Atlantean civilization will lean heavily into Aztec iconography. This move will set him apart from DC’s Aquaman, which shares a similar origin with his Marvel counterpart.

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It remains to be seen what else will be changed for the MCU. What’s certain, though, is that Huerta’s Namor will retain the character’s iconic costume and hybrid ancestry for the film.

Sworn enemy of Wakanda

For almost all of his existence in the comics, Namor has been usually known for his reputation as Atlantis’ ruler and a major influence in the superhero community. To a lesser degree, he is popular due to his numerous runs with different groups, such as the Defenders and X-Men. But what many MCU fans don’t know is that at some point during the last decade, Namor made the biggest enemy of his career, one that many people didn’t expect back then – Black Panther.

During the Avengers vs. X-Men event, Namor was among the five mutants who were imbued with the Phoenix’s god-like powers after the Avengers tried to destroy the said entity. This led these five to reshape the world and make it better for Mutantdom. But along the way, Namor sought to end the Avengers on his own and proceeded to Wakanda where they were hiding.

With the powers of the Phoenix, the Atlantean-Mutant hybrid caused a massive wave to crash down on the nation, killing thousands within a few minutes. This event continued to play out during Jonathan Hickman’s run with the Avengers and culminated with T’Challa killing Namor before the events of Secret Wars.

With this kind of backstory in the comics, it’s expected that some major elements will be used in Wakanda Forever. Until then, Marvel fans will have to wait for November to finally find out how Namor plays into this Black Panther sequel.