The Black Panther sequel introduces a mutant

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Since The merger of Disney and Fox, Marvel fans have been eagerly awaiting the official arrival of the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We caught a glimpse of Professor X in a parallel universe in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessand WandaVision hinted that the Scarlet Witch was also born a mutant. But Black Panther: Wakanda Forever introduces its first self-identified mutant character in the central MCU universe: Namor.

The antagonist in black Panther sequel rules over a secret sea kingdom called Talokan. During a conversation with Shuri, the princess of Wakanda, Namor reveals his origin story. His mother was a member of a tribe trying to escape from their colonist oppressors. Every man, woman and child drank a special herb that gave them the power to breathe underwater so they could make a new home in the depths. Namor’s mother was pregnant when she drank the herb, and Namor became the first baby born underwater. He was unlike the other babies who followed him. It had pointed ears and wings on its heels. He was, he tells Shuri, “a mutant.”

Namor’s people hailed him as a god. But the name “mutant” carries a lot of weight in Marvel lore.

Read more: The path to the X-Men joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe just got a lot clearer

What is the difference between a mutant and a superhero?

While superheroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man gain their superpowers through chance or ingenuity, and gods like Thor originate from another realm, mutants are humans born with special powers. The most famous mutants are the X-Men, but many mutants never join the ranks of the X-Men, such as Squirrel Girl and Deadpool.

What are Namor’s mutant powers?

Namor was born with immense strength and the ability to fly. His skin was also able to absorb oxygen through the water, strengthening his powers. He has an incredibly long life and has lived for centuries by the time he meets Shuri.

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Why is identifying Namor as a mutant important?

Until Disney merged with Fox, the studio could not declare its on-screen superheroes to be mutants: Fox owned the rights to the X-Men and the mutant heroes. This might sound like a corporate legal dispute, but who owned the rights to what types of characters had a huge impact on Marvel Studios’ storytelling. Marvel couldn’t feature the X-Men, some of the most popular characters in Marvel comics, in their movies until the Disney-Fox deal closed in 2019.

In a particularly complicated twist, both Disney and Fox owned the rights to Wanda Maximoff and her brother Quicksilver: The Twins are both mutants and Avengers in the comics. in Avengers: Age of Ultron the siblings say they gained their powers after the evil organization HYDRA experimented on them using an infinity stone.

WandaVision, which was released after the corporate merger, has since hinted in a flashback that the twins were mutants all along. We see Wanda as a child using telepathy before she is captured by HYDRA. The bottom line is that the infinity stone only increased the powers she had from birth.

Read more: There is a gaping hole in the center of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever—and No one is to blame

Will Namor join the X-Men?

It is certainly possible! Throughout his comics, Namor spent a lot of time either in league with or fighting the Black Panther. A true anti-hero, Namor doesn’t just help and betray the Wakandans. He’s also in constant alliance or conflict with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and, yes, the X-Men.

In general, Namor is not a big fan of surface dwellers, so he is often persuaded to join forces with those mutants who harbor a grudge, rightly or wrongly, against the powerless humans who would try to oppress them.

Namor also has a long history with Fantastic Four nemesis Doctor Doom, the leader of another fictional country, Latvia.

Perhaps most importantly, Namor plays a major role in a comic book plot that involves invasions or parallel universes crashing into each other. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduces the idea of ​​raids. Given that the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to be moving towards a conflict of colliding realities, Namor will likely have a larger role in the MCU narrative beyond antagonizing Wakanda.

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Write to Eliana Docterman c [email protected].

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