Black Panther: Wakanda Forever delivered a fascinating backstory for the underwater nation of Talokan and its God-king, Namor. Writer/director Ryan Coogler created a unique version of the legend of Atlantis that allowed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s take on the Sub-Mariner to stand apart from the comics while still staying true to the character’s core characteristics. Interestingly enough, despite nearly entirely recreating the character, Coogler also left room down the road for Namor to retroactively become a part of a comic book-based team with which he’s long been associated: the Invaders!
In the pages of Marvel Comics, the story of the Invaders was first told via flashbacks to World War II. Originally comprised of Namor, Captain America and John Hammond, the Original Human Torch, the Invaders were a group of heroes who sought to take on the Axis powers of Europe in the 1940s. The team grew to include teen sidekicks Bucky Barnes and Thomas “Toro” Raymond and, over the years, dozens of other characters. The original members of the team have reunited over the years but the bulk of their great stories took place during WWII fighting against one of the greatest evils the world has ever known. Despite just being introduced into the MCU in its present day, it seems that nothing about Namor’s known history could prevent him from being a part of such a team in the MCU.
As shown in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Namor is over 450 years old and despite his desire to keep Talokan and its people hidden from the surface world, the film’s events do not depict the first time he’s had contact with humans. Not only has Namor been spotted on beaches in and around the Yucatan Peninsula, but he also burned down a plantation and murdered several of its inhabitants as a young boy. Though he serves as the antagonist of Wakanda Forever, Namor is no villain. Arrogant, prideful and extremely temperamental, Namor is also compassionate and has a strong sense of justice, so while he holds no love for the surface world, you can be sure that he would share Captain America’s sense of disdain for the Nazis.
Historically speaking, the Nazis had a very real fascination with the lost continent of Atlantis and undertook several attempts to find it. As outlined here, it wouldn’t take much to retcon what audiences know of the MCU’s WWII era to bring Namor, Steve Rogers and John Hammond (who was introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger) together to fight Nazis. In fact, all it would take would be a threat to Talokan to invoke Namor’s imperious impulses and find himself compelled to fight alongside other righteous heroes. If Marvel Studios did it right, it might even explain why Nick Fury had an icon in the Atlantic Ocean on his map of superhero hot spots seen in Iron Man 2.
That map has been widely interpreted to represent the locations of heroes Fury was following closely. The icon in the Atlantic has been thought to be Atlantis while the one in Africa thought to be Wakanda. However, there’s no reason to believe that those icons couldn’t simply represent places where interesting activities have taken place in the past rather than events that were taking place in and around the events of Iron Man 2. Fury didn’t have to know the exact location of Wakanda, for example in order to have become aware of some past incident in the area that drew his attention. The same could be said for the area in the Atlantic. The Nazis were known to be searching the seas far and wide for any potential signs of Atlantis so there’s no reason they couldn’t have engaged with Namor and the Invaders in that region, which is not insignificantly located near Tristan da Cunha, the most remote island archipelago in the world with a current population of only 264 inhabitants. Should a battle involving the Nazis, a flying fish man, a flaming, flying android and the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan have taken place in such a location, it wouldn’t take much imagination to figure out why it wasn’t part of the history books in the MCU but a guy like Fury would have means to find out about it.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever delivers a great origin and introduction for K’uk’ulkan and does an equally wonderful job of not cutting off any more stories for the character, past present or future.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now.