Mild spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame.
With a three-hour run-time, there’s plenty to mine from Avengers: Endgame. But one line of dialogue you probably missed might just tease the arrival of a long-standing Marvel Comics character: Namor the Sub-Mariner. That three-hour run-time is fairly lean, meaning that few if any lines of dialogue included in the final cut are throwaways; there’s a reason they made it through the last editing rounds. And this wouldn’t be the first time the MCU has dared to drop the most subtle of teasers for their own underwater superhero/antihero/villain, but it’s definitely another intentional one. Additionally, the success of WB/DC’s Aquaman might have generated some waves of its own on the Marvel side of things, so I wasn’t surprised at all to hear a very subtle Namor drop in this epic event that closed out a decade of films and, in its own way, set the stage for the next wave.
Now the reason for the subtlety of this reference might be because Marvel Studios is not 100% in on a Namor movie anytime soon; the reality is likely subtler still. When last we checked, the aquatic character was still tied up with Universal, meaning that Marvel would have to make a deal in order to use Namor in a movie, much like they did with Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok and, in a more complicated deal, the Tom Holland / Spider-Man character in Sony/Marvel’s spider-share program. Obviously those films got made, so a Namor movie isn’t out the question. The most likely scenario? An introduction in the Black Panther sequel.
But first! If you missed that tease in Avengers: Endgame, it came fairly early on in the movie. Just after the time jump, when Natasha is chatting with the hologram likenesses of her fellow Avengers about known threats in the world, Okoye reports that there are sub-oceanic quakes off the coast of Africa. When Nat asks how they’re handling it, Okoye responds with some snark, basically saying that there’s nothing to do about an earthquake beneath the ocean. However, that might not be entirely accurate …
There’s a good chance that Okoye knows exactly what’s going on off the coast of Africa, especially if the epicenter is anywhere near Wakanda. The sovereign nation is more open to the world now than it was before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, so there’s a good chance that some drama is coming to their doorstep and has been for the last five years. And now that everyone is well and truly unsnapped, the MCU can take advantage of the Marvel Comics which have laid the groundwork for an altercation between the people of Wakanda and the denizens of the deep.
The rulers of the once-isolated nations of Wakanda and Atlantis have clashed a number of times over the years, sometimes one on one, sometimes as part of bigger story arcs like “Avengers vs. X-Men” or the machinations of the Illuminati. But since Namor has a habit of changing alliances between superheroes and supervillains as the need arises, he’s a very flexible character who can bring a new dynamic to the MCU’s storytelling. (Picture him as being like an underwater Loki, not in his power set, but in his potential appeal with fans as both an antihero and an eventual heroic ally.) One particularly good storyline that could introduce Namor sees the Atlantean prince attempting to recruit T’Challa into a secret cabal, a move that ends in Shuri ascending to the position of Black Panther. The only downside to the MCU using this storyline, previous to the Disney/Fox merger, was that the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters factored heavily into the mix; the only problem now, when Disney owns everything outright (except for Namor himself), is trying to manage the unwieldy nature of (re)introducing a ton of characters all at once.
But that’s a creative challenge that can be overcome. If the last 10 years of the MCU are any indication, anything’s possible. (And if you go all the way back to Iron Man 2, you’ll find another veiled tease for Namor and Atlantis. It’s clear the MCU creatives have at least been mulling this one over for a while.)
Would you like to see the Atlantean prince rise to the challenge and join the MCU for good? And would Black Panther 2 be the perfect place to do this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
For more of our continuing coverage on Avengers: Endgame, be sure to check out these recent write-ups:
- ‘Avengers: Endgame’: That Black Widow/Hawkeye Scene Nearly Ended Differently
- Why the Netflix Marvel Heroes Aren’t in ‘Avengers: Endgame’
- ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Writers Reveal an Alternate, Longer Battle Scene
- Every Box Office Record ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Has Dusted So Far
- Weekend Box Office: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Crushes Opening Weekend Record