Collider‘s Steve “Frosty” Weintraub recently caught up with director Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3, Surrogates) and talked to him about his progress with the long-rumored big-screen adaptation of the Marvel Comics character Prince Namor, also known as The Sub-Mariner.

Mostow wouldn’t say much on camera, however Weintraub (being the good ol’ nosy journalist he should be) managed to get some semi-solid info out of the director about where the Sub-Mariner project is, and where he hopes it will be going.

Namor has been labeled Marvel’s “first and mightiest mutant,” yet a film adaptation of the undersea superhero has never gotten off the ground. There was a brief animated Sub-Mariner TV series in the 60s, but who really remembers that?

It’s probably for this same reason that Marvel sold off the cinematic rights to the character to Universal, which now excludes Namor from any of The Avengers cross-over films being done over at Marvel Studios. But hey, since comic book films are still making bank, Universal is keeping The Sub-Mariner in development…for now.

Back to Mostow: The director told Weintraub that the biggest hangup facing the film right now is hammering out a quality script. Mostow seemed genuinely earnest in his insistence that a good script has to be in place before a Sub-Mariner film moves ahead any further (which is a smart move, otherwise you end up with Ghost Rider).

For the full interview with Mostow, be sure to jump on over to Collider.

When I think about the character of Prince Namor, I’m not surprised to see these filmmakers facing the same kind of scripting difficulties that have prevented say, DC Comics, from getting an Aquaman movie into theaters. Think about:

  • Neither character is all THAT popular amongst the general public.
  • Filming a lot of underwater action sequences would cost big bucks (see: Waterworld).
  • Neither Aquaman nor Namor have any popular villains in their rogue’s gallery that could carry a movie.

Those are three big hurdles for any movie to try to jump.

In Namor’s defense, there are some aspects to his character that would make him (at least for me) a slightly better bet than Aquaman:

  1. Namor’s status as a mutant.  Born of a human sea captain and an Atlantian princess, Namor is credited as being “the first mutant” in the Marvel Universe and that trait could make for a compelling origin story about Namor trying to find himself as a “hero,” as well as his place amongst the surface and undersea worlds (both of which could offer their own unique conflicts and challenges).
  2. Namor’s attitude and personality. Unlike Aquaman (whose comic book incarnations have oscillated between campy-cheesy and boring-brooding), Namor’s grand arrogance and kick-your-ass attitude have always made him a standout in the comics. No matter what kind of team-up or collaborative effort Namor has been a part of, he’s always managed to steal a lot of scenes while delivering some of the best lines of any Marvel hero (dare I say it? “Imperius Rex!”).

If I were writing this Sub-Mariner script (and I should be), I would go with Namor as a villain-cum-hero. Check it: He’s born in Atlantis; erroneously thinks humans killed his parents (loosely based on the actual comics); trains for years as a regal warrior (albeit an outsider) bent on revenge against the surface world; ventures out to said surface world (NYC) when he comes of age, to determine “its weakness and vulnerabilities”; meets a human love interest and/or other heroes; cue a sub-plot about a jealous Atlantian general and/or would-be princess, who cut a deal with a human villain to overthrow the “half-breed prince” Namor; climax with a grand war/maritime  sequence involving Atlantis invading the Eastern Seaboard; end with Namor learning hard lessons and becoming a hero/protector of BOTH worlds. THE END.

See Universal, not so hard. I really got to stop giving away these ideas for free.

What do you think about a Sub-Mariner movie – interested in seeing Namor on the big screen? Or is this film a washout for you?

Source: Collider

Namor Image source at top: (the late-great) Michael Turner