It was never a secret that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was going to make things a bit different with Namor, as it was clear that Marvel Studios was going for a more Aztec kind of origin for the antagonist of the movie and for his people. Of course, we also learned that Atlantis was changed to Talokan in Wakanda Forever. So, why is Namor Mexican in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
The decision to change Namor’s origin to Mexican or Aztec was a creative choice on the part of direct Ryan Coogler, who wanted to add more cultural diversity to the movie. Of course, changing Namor’s origin and ethnicity allowed his character and the Talokan people to distinguish themselves.
It isn’t a secret that the Atlantis angle has been a bit overplayed in movies, series, and other forms of media. As such, even though Namor has always been Atlantean in the comics, the choice to make him and his people differ in terms of their ethnicity and origin was a creative one on the part of Coogler. So, with that said, let’s look at why Namor is Mexican in Wakanda Forever.
Why Is Namor Mexican?
When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was still in development, one of the things that people speculated was that Namor was going to be a different kind of character compared to what some fans have been used to in the comics. Of course, Namor was still going to be Namor in the sense that he was still an anti-hero that ruled an underwater kingdom. But the fact is that when his character and actor were revealed in the teaser and trailer of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, people saw that he was going to be Mexican in terms of his ethnicity.
The movie, of course, showed that Tenoch Huerta’s Namor was from an underwater kingdom that he ruled not as a king but as a god to his people. In fact, he was called K’uk’ulkan by his people because his ankles had wings that allowed him to fly and because he was so much stronger than the rest of his people. Of course, he also ruled a nation called Talokan. So, why is it that Namor is Mexican in Black Panther 2?
We know for a fact that Namor McKenzie, in the comics, was American in terms of his origin and that the Atlanteans were not even human at all. As such, Ryan Coogler, who is the director of the Black Panther movies, decided to add more cultural diversity to the entire MCU, as we know that the Black Panther films have always been some of the most culturally diverse movies we’ve seen from Marvel Studios.
As such, it was an interesting choice to make Namor and his people Mexican in terms of their origins because it added more cultural diversity to the overall storyline, as we also know that the Wakandans themselves added their own brand of cultural diversity to the MCU. The fact that two different hidden ancient kingdoms from two different parts of the world were at the center of this movie’s storyline also made the entire plot more interesting.
However, the choice to make Namor and his people Mexicans was something that allowed the world to open its eyes to this part of the world, which isn’t often seen in mainstream movies that millions or even billions of people watch all over the world. Mexico has always been a well-known country, but not a lot of people are quite familiar with Mexican folklore and ancient Mexican mythology.
As such, by choosing to use Mexico (specifically Atlantis) as the region of origin for Namor and the people of Talokan, Coogler was able to add more diversity to Black Panther 2. Of course, while we also know that Atlantis is not entirely a western concept but is actually Greco-Roman in origin, we also know that the mythologies of Greek and Rome have always been used when it comes to portraying underwater civilizations.
In a sense, changing things up allowed the director to move the viewers’ attention away from the usual Greco-Roman underwater civilization of Atlantis to an entirely new and novel underwater civilization in the form of Talokan, which is Mexican or Aztec in origin.
Why Was Namor’s Origin Story Changed?
The movie showed that the Talokan people were actually living in the ancient Aztec civilization in an area we now know as Mexico. However, they ingested an herb similar to the Wakandan Heart-Shaped Herb as they were transformed into new lifeforms that couldn’t breathe on the surface and had to live underwater. Meanwhile, because Namor was in his mother’s womb during her transformation, he ended up with the qualities of a human and a Talokanil. As a result, he became a mutant that had incredible abilities.
Meanwhile, in the comics, Namor was the son of a human male and an Atlantean female, as he gained the best qualities of both sides and was even strengthened by the mutant gene that he obtained from his human side. The Atlanteans were not even from Earth as they were actually aliens that moved migrated from their planet a long time ago and decided to establish their settlement in the oceans of our planet.
As such, it is clear that the origin stories of both the Namor in the MCU and the Namor in the comics differ greatly. While Namor is still the leader of an underwater civilization in the MCU, his story is entirely different from the one that was established in Marvel comics. So, why is it that Namor’s origin story was changed?
Namor’s origin story was changed due to how Ryan Coogler wanted to fit the origins of Talokan with Mexican culture and mythology. Even though the Marvel comics version of Atlantis isn’t even Greco-Roman in nature, it was still best to use an origin story that fit the cultural diversity theme that has always been prevalent in Black Panther. Coogler, in explaining his choice, said this:
“Historically, a lot of myth internationally about this idea of a hidden place in the water—lost continents and things like that—you could go into a Google wormhole looking at this. I think that because we live in a society that’s very much permeated by Western thinking and Western ideas, that Greco-Roman concept of Atlantis, Plato’s Concept, has permeation of our consciousness. But there are other concepts, and that concept has been displayed so much cinematically and been detailed very well.”
Of course, Coogler was basically saying that using a more Mesoamerican origin story for the Talokanil and their leader, Namor, was going to fit in more with how he wanted to make the Mexican or Aztec concept of an underwater civilization a major theme in this storyline. After all, had he stuck with the comic book origin story of the Atlanteans as aliens, that wouldn’t have been a good way to portray a more culturally diverse theme into the storyline. And we all know that Black Panther has always been at the forefront of cultural diversity in the MCU.