Thanks to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, one of Marvel's oldest characters is now in the MCU — Namor. But while Namor is finally in live action as played by Tenoch Huerta, the film makes some major changes to the iconic character by giving the hero a new background and origin. Now, Marvel producer Nate More is explaining some of the major changes in the character from the pages of comics to the screen. In an appearance on The Town with Matthew Belloni podcast (via The Direct), Moore broke down not just the character's new Mesoamerican heritage, but his relationship with Wakanda as well.
In comics, Namor and Black Panther absolutely do not get along and their two nations often go to war with one another. While we do see Wakanda and Talokan fight in Wakanda Forever, there's a bit of a shift as the two nations eventually come to a truce, but Moore said they kept the comics in mind.
"Yeah, it's no secret that Ryan [Coogler] was a fan of Namor, has been a fan of Namor for a long time," Moore said. "And in publishing, the nation of Wakanda and the nation of Atlantis often came in loggerheads. And Namor and Black Panther don't really like each other."
He also explained that shifting to a Mayan-inspired history helped anchor the character in the real world.
"But in thinking about from a filming standpoint, what's interesting about publishing is Atlantis feels very Greco-Roman, vaguely drawn, and Namor's backstory isn't as interesting as you want it to be. And this is from somebody who's read all the Namor books. It was like... it doesn't have the depth that it could have. And Ryan, as a filmmaker, likes things to be really anchored in the real world. So even when he was building Wakanda, it wasn't the techno-jungle from publishing, it was, 'Hey, here's a place that's really based on African cultures. And I think the specificity of that world is part of what made that first movie work."
That background change also allowed for the story to take on colonization.
"And Ryan, again, is interested in exploring themes of colonization as he was in the first film, and started to look at nations that experienced that, and found some Mayan pottery with glyphs on it, where the people were blue," he said. "And he was like, 'Oh, that's sort of interesting,' and started to do some research into the history of Mayan people in the past and today, and felt like, 'Oh, here's an anchor point that could be really interesting,' that gives Namor a specificity and gives, now, the world of Talokan a specificity that both narratively makes sense with the story I and Ryan wanted to tell and also visually is an incredibly rich playground to talk about."
How Important is Namor for Audiences?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made some major changes to Namor with the film's character, played by Tenoch Huerta, haling not from Atlantis but from Talokan, a world influenced by the rich myths and history of Mesoamerican culture. Huerta has previously spoken about how important that representation is.
"It's important for people to see themselves in the movies in this way," Huerta told Variety. "It was made with a lot of respect for the Mesoamerican culture, especially Mayan culture. It's the roots of almost everybody in Latin America. We have indigenous roots, Black roots, we have a few white roots, but it's fantastic to be here and represent this kind of movie and I think Wakanda is the best place to make it."
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now.