Avengers: Endgame looks to have included a major tease that Namor and Atlantis exist in the MCU, the second such reference so far. One of the oldest characters in all of Marvel Comics, Namor the Sub-Mariner is the ruler of the underwater civilization of Atlantis who possesses a variety of superhuman abilities thanks to his Atlantean and mutant genes. He has been both a hero (as a member of the Defenders) and a villain (to the Fantastic Four and others) depending on the storyline. Thanks to his complexity, he has been someone that fans have been waiting to see introduced in the MCU for years.
Unfortunately, that is more difficult than it sounds. Namor's Marvel movie rights are in a similar position as Hulk, as Universal Pictures still has control of their solo properties. This means that Marvel Studios cannot make any solo Namor movies without first being required to see if Universal would want to distribute the film, and thus get some of the potential profits. The business side of Namor's rights looks to be one of the main reasons why he has yet to make his live-action debut.
Marvel Studios may not be able to make solo Namor projects, but they do still have the option to put him and his underwater kingdom in other movies, just like how they included Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok and the Avengers films. Even with this possibility though, there has yet to be any clear signs of what future (if any) Namor had in the MCU. Thanks to a quick line of dialogue in Avengers: Endgame though, this could be changing.
Namor's Avengers Endgame Tease
Early on in Avengers: Endgame, Black Widow is leading a meeting with Nebula, Rocket, Okoye, Captain Marvel, and War Machine as they all give mission reports for their recent activities. Nebula and Rocket discuss their cosmic adventures, as does Captain Marvel, and War Machine waits until the end to talk about the massacres that Hawkeye/Ronin is responsible for. In the middle of this exchange, Okoye mentions that there were underwater earthquakes off the coast of Africa. Black Widow wants to know what they are doing to deal with them, and Okoye says by leaving it alone.
Initially, this could be read as Okoye knowing there is nothing that they can do if these earthquakes are natural and from the shifting of tectonic plates; Avengers: Endgame is showing that there are events happening that the Avengers can't control. But, Endgame has a three-hour runtime and doesn't waste a moment of dialogue that doesn't either propel the story at hand forward or tease the future. These underwater earthquakes don't factor into the main story, which further makes this feel like a reference towards something else. And if this is the case, then the obvious choice is that this is teasing that the activities of Namor and Atlantis are actually what is causing these earthquakes and that Okoye doesn't want to deal with them at all.
Namor Was First Teased In Iron Man 2
If Okoye really is talking about Namor, then Avengers: Endgame will actually be the second time that Atlantis has been teased in the MCU. The first comes when Nick Fury is meeting with Iron Man about the Avengers Initiative near the end of Iron Man 2. A map of the globe is nearby and has markers for locations and events that S.H.I.E.L.D. is monitoring. One of these locations is right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and has been theorized by many to be the first tease for Namor and Atlantis in the MCU.
Marvel Studios has not come close to even acknowledging this Easter egg since - it's not even officially confirmed that this location is indeed connected to Namor and Atlantis - but that there's a similar reference in Avengers: Endgame certainly feels intentional. And, while both teases may be separated by almost a decade, they also work together. Atlantis can be located somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and Namor patrols the entirety of it, with his adventures and wars being the true explanation for the earthquakes mentioned in Avengers: Endgame. And so, it looks like Namor does have a future in the MCU after all.
Will Namor Be In Black Panther 2?
Whenever the discussion about Namor joining the MCU happens, introducing him as an antagonist for Black Panther is one of the most exciting possibilities. Wakanda and Atlantis have a storied history in Marvel Comics and have almost constantly been at war with one another. This potential tease in Avengers: Endgame could reveal that Okoye and Wakanda not only know that Namor and Atlantis exist, but that they are not to interfere with the underwater nation. Since they've been at war in the comics before, this could be part of their shared MCU histories where some type of agreement was put in place that they will no longer interfere with each other. Conversely, it could be the very first emergence of Atlantis, with Okoye unaware what's coming.
Either way, if Namor and Atlantis have been staying out of sight all this time, what would cause them to come out now? Avengers: Endgame could potentially hold the key to this as well. During a conversation between Captain America and Black Widow that happens immediately after this tease, Cap mentions that he saw whales swimming in the Hudson River. The surprising travels of the sea creatures is the result of the snap, which wiped out half of all life across the universe and thus resulted in less pollution from fewer boats and cleaner waters. Now that Earth's large population has been restored, Namor could quickly see the seas return to a worse state and finally give him the reason to start a war with humanity.
Even if this is not the story Ryan Coogler would use for Black Panther 2, Namor being introduced here is the best bet - if it is going to happen. The sequel would suddenly become a film about a war between previously hidden nations and opposing kings, that could then introduce a brand new underwater corner to the MCU. Of course, it's worth remembering that, as likely as it is that Marvel Studios would use Avengers: Endgame as a building block for Black Panther 2 and Namor, it is just a theory at the moment. But hopefully, Namor will be introduced sooner in Phase 4 rather than later.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019