As entertaining as it is to see the progress of a character on-screen, it is much more entertaining to observe their evolution via concept drawings and how they were envisioned. Never-before-seen concept art by artist and Marvel animator Joshua James depicts one development of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever figure Namor.
The abandoned concept art evokes the 1970s Namor as seen in Sub-Mariner #67 by John Romita Sr. It depicts Namor in his distinctive golden gauntlets, black and blue outfit, clutching his golden staff, and looking majestic. Despite the fact that director Ryan Coogler opted for James’ Mayan-inspired Namor appearance instead, it is intriguing to see how the Talokan emperor was originally envisioned.
Tenoch Huerta Meja, who portrays Namor, was not happy about the Speedo-like shorts he had to wear for the film. During the filming of Wakanda Forever, Huerta referred to the Speedo as his “shame shorts,” in reference to the walk of humiliation he had to take to his trailer. Regardless of wardrobe responses, Huerta immersed himself entirely in the part of the character, whether he was wearing the Speedo, the Mayan-inspired costume, or the warrior appearance created by Anthony Francisco.
Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ features Tenoch Huerta as Namor.
Namor, the Sub-Mariner, is one of the oldest Marvel Comics characters and has been portrayed as a hero, a villain, and an antihero throughout his comic book career, but he made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Wakanda Forever. Audiences must decide whether Namor is a hero or a villain in the film, and they are invited to both sympathise with him in his desire to protect his underwater kingdom while also disliking his decisions and methods, such as wanting to kidnap and murder Riri Williams and senselessly drown Queen Ramonda.
The complexity of Namor has been compared to that of Killmonger in Black Panther; in a review of Wakanda Forever, Ross Bonaime praised Huerta’s performance as a character “who is similarly just trying to do what is best for his country” and Coogler for making the audience sympathise with Namor’s viewpoint, “even if the extremism within that argument makes his choices inherently questionable.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be released on Disney+ on February 1 and on 4K Ultra HD, DVD, and Blu-ray on February 7. Examine the unutilized Namor concept art on James’ Instagram.