Despite previous reports to the contrary, the film rights to Namor the Sub-Mariner have still not reverted back to Marvel Studios, and the character resides with Universal Pictures, whose previous forays into Marvel movies include two Incredible Hulk movies.
"There are three or four slots" for upcoming Marvel projects, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Empire. "We've got six or seven things going. We've got to choose which four will go. It's a Battle Royale!"
Asked whether one of the projects under consideration was Namor, though, his answer was both brief and surprising: "That's at Universal."
And that's a shame for those of us who were speculating there might be a Defenders movie coming down the line from Marvel.
About four years ago, a Sub-Mariner movie almost happened at Universal, directed by Surrogates and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines director Jonathan Mostow. The movie stalled, possibly due to concerns that making an expensive, undersea science fiction film from a director whose last big franchise lost about $50 million at the domestic box office could prove disastrous to the studio who had just taken a beating on a Hulk movie, but Man of Steel concept artist Peter Rubin still has his work from it waiting in case someone wants to use it down the line.
"I have stuff on my hard drive from that film that I would love to be able to show on my website, I would love to be able to use in a movie—really, really interesting possibilities with that," Rubin told ComicBook.com. "Really for me and I think for Jonathan Mostow who was scheduled to direct it if it had happened, the fun of it was taking the story of Namor which is—in the comics, it’s a little bit medieval, it’s a little bit of a fairy tale kind of a setting both in the social structure and also in the way everything is designed. "