For the average moviegoer, the distinction between a Marvel Studios film (like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and a movie featuring Marvel character's (like Deadpool) may be a bit confusing. During the '90s, while suffering the threat of bankruptcy, Marvel sold off a number of its character rights to various film studios. The effort worked, as the company bounced back and movies based around Blade, Spider-Man and the X-Men all went into production. By the next decade, Marvel had the clout to create their own production company, and slowly began buying back the rights to their many characters (though some reverted back thanks to a deal that required them to be used by a certain time). Sadly, a few still lingered at other studios, like Fox and Sony.
More vague is who exactly owns the rights to one of Marvel's oldest and most popular characters: Namor the Sub-Mariner. Debuting in 1939, back when Marvel was still Timely Comics, Namor along with Captain America and the original Human Torch were three of the company's biggest sellers. For years now, it's been assumed that Universal owned the rights to the character. A quote from Marvel's CCO Joe Quesada last year, however, seemed to indicate otherwise. While it was unclear whether Marvel ownded the full rights, or that Universal maintained distribution rights (like they do with the Hulk), it's still not clear.
A new report from Reel News Hawaii seems to indicate that Marvel is moving forward on a Namor project, however. The company made a splash last week when they revealed that The Inhumans would be filming on their shores at a new Marvel studio in Oahu. Now, they seem to be indicating that a Namor film will be made in the same location.
There's buzz around the island that two rival productions could be swimming on our waters. "Aquaman" & "Submariner". Fingers crossed! pic.twitter.com/1WLbZkWJAN
— Reel News Hawaii (@reelnewshawaii) February 15, 2017
UPDATE: Production Weekly has seemingly confirmed this report, listing "The Sub-Mariner" as an upcoming project.
Given there aren't any details and we've never heard any word that a Namor movie was in the works, this rumor should be taken with a spoonful of salt. Still, the setting would make sense. If Marvel is setting up shop in Hawaii, what better project to film there than one about Namor, Marvel's king of the seas and ruler of Atlantis. There is another exciting possibility, however.
In the comics, Namor is a mutant, which presents Marvel with a problem as Fox owns the rights to the term. The solution could be to make Namor an Inhuman, which would make sense given his royal demeanor and ancient origin. Considering this rumor comes connected to a report on where The Inhumans is filming, perhaps it merely points to the fact that Namor will be joining the series. If so, we're sure Brian Tee is still quite interested in playing the role.
We'll bring you more news on this Namor the Sub-Mariner rumor as it emerges, so stay tuned.