Why Is Atlantis Talokan in Black Panther 2? Is Talokan Canon in Marvel Comics?

The release of the MCU’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever allowed us to see more changes in the Marvel Studios’ side of things, especially considering that there have been a lot of differences between the comics and the MCU. After all, the MCU is now an entire universe on its own and is no longer just an adaptation of the comics. One such change that we saw in Wakanda Forever was in relation to Namor and his fictional nation, which is called Talokan in the MCU. So, is Talokan canon to Marvel Comics?

Talokan is not canon to Marvel Comics. The idea of changing Atlantis to Talokan was purely the idea of director Ryan Coogler, who wanted to differentiate the water-based civilization of the MCU from what has already been established in other movies, such as the DCEU’s Aquaman.

The fact that Talokan is an entirely new idea that was introduced in the MCU changes a lot of things between it and the comics, as even the origins of the people of Talokan are something that was totally different in the movie. Of course, changes are not entirely new in the MCU, and this was merely one of the many differences between the MCU and the comics. That said, let’s look at what we know about Talokan.

Why Is Atlantis Talokan In The MCU?

When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was still in development, there were a lot of reasons to believe that Namor was going to finally join the MCU as an important character heading into the future, especially because of the fact that he has always been a fixture in Marvel Comics. In that regard, when the teasers and trailers for the movie were released, it became clear that Namor was going to be a big part of Wakanda Forever.

From what we know about Namor in the comics, he comes from Marvel’s version of the underwater civilization called Atlantis. Of course, we know for a fact that the Atlantis concept has always been overly used in movies and other similar forms of literature. In fact, the entire underwater civilization concept has always been a fixture in pop culture and in many different movies.

So, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever came out, we learned that Namor does not come from Atlantis but is actually from a civilization called Talokan. On top of that change, we also learned that the people of Talokan originated in a manner that isn’t too different from how the Black Panther came about. So, with that said, it is clear that there are more things in common between these two hidden civilizations.

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But before we get there, it is important to learn more about Talokan, which is actually based on Mexican mythology. Talokan is inspired by Tlālōcān, which is an ancient city that was said to have been ruled by Tlāloc, who is known as the Aztec god of rain. However, the city did not exist in the real world because it only existed as a destination that the Aztecs supposedly went to after drowning.

In a way, we saw this in Wakanda Forever because the herb that the Talokan people took when they were still inhabiting the surface during the 16th century actually “killed” them in a manner that’s similar to how the Heart-Shaped Herb “kills” the Black Panther before bringing them back to life. So, in Wakanda Forever, the Aztecs that once inhabited the surface actually got killed by the herb that they took and were reborn into entirely new beings that couldn’t breathe on the surface. However, they were able to breathe in the water and were now much stronger than regular human beings.

That being said, the Talokan people now inhabit a city that is said to be the place where they now dwell after they have “drowned” while they were on the surface. Talokan is now their afterlife, in a sense, because of the fact that it was able to allow them to have a new life far away from the surface. And being in Talokan made them feel like they were from a different part of existence because they were allowed to live secluded lives away from human civilization.

Of course, the decision to change Atlantis into Talokan is one that was not easy on the part of Ryan Coogler. The fact that we know that there have always been a lot of different interpretations of Atlantis in movies and other forms of literature has made it difficult for the MCU to stand out if it were to use the Atlantis interpretation that we’ve seen in the comics. As such, changing Atlantis into Talokan was one decision that allowed the MCU to contribute a new way of interpreting an ancient underwater civilization that’s secluded from the surface world.

In speaking about his decision to change Atlantis to Talokan, Coogler said:

“I dug ‘Aquaman’ and really loved Disney’s ‘Atlantis’ that came out when we were younger. And I wanted to make something that could stand in a cinematic pantheon beside those films and be different, but still truthful. We were after something that felt truthful, and real, and we can take a deep cultural dive with. That felt like it was on theme, felt like they belonged in a world with Wakanda that was believable, but also felt like myth; felt like people could see themselves in it.”

Of course, we know for a fact that the MCU has always been quite open about taking us into different cultural experiences, especially because this is one of the most diverse cinematic universes we have ever seen. As such, it only made sense to use another interesting ancient culture, such as Aztec culture, which was prominent in Mexico for thousands of years before the Spanish conquistadors came to colonize the land.

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Also, by changing the Atlantis theme to a more cultural theme, such as ancient Mexican mythology, the MCU could now differentiate its underwater civilization from the DCEU, which made a huge splash with its Aquaman movie. Despite the fact that Namor was actually published before Aquaman, the latter has become more popular than the former. And the fact that the Aquaman movie came before Namor’s introduction into the MCU would have made things difficult for Marvel Studios to differentiate its underwater civilization.

Is Talokan Canon In Marvel Comics?

In the comics, Namor has always been associated with Atlantis, and that means that there is nothing on the pages of Marvel that talks about Talokan. This means that Talokan has never been canon in Marvel Comics and has never existed.

Of course, that means that Talokan is an original creator of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, who is also responsible for creating the MCU versions of the Black Panther storyline. And this was actually a welcome change among fans of the MCU because of the fact that the Atlantis angle has become quite overused in movies.

While diehard fans of the comics might not like this change, it still makes the MCU much more diverse than its comic book counterpart, as more cultures are explored by Marvel Studios. In that regard, it is interesting to see where the MCU would take Namor and Talokan as it heads into the future.

  • Ysmael is a self-professed geek that loves anything related to fantasy, sci-fi, video gaming, and anime. Spends his free time watching movies, TV shows and gaming, a lot.