Marvel Studios should make Namor of Latino origin in MCU


With the success of Aquaman for DC and Warner Bros., Marvel Studios will likely develop a Namor movie in the MCU going forward. Here’s why we think the character should be the MCU’s first Latino live-action superhero.

Warner Bros. and DC have taken the lead once again. They beat Marvel Studios in developing their first female-led superhero movie with Wonder Woman. Now, they are the first to bring Atlantis to the silver screen, while making Aquaman a worldwide hit along the way. Marvel will be premiering its first female-led superhero film with Captain Marvel in March, but there’s still no word on whether Namor—their version of Aquaman—will be diving into the MCU anytime soon.

Nevertheless, with Aquaman earning over one billion dollars at the box office, it’s almost certain that a Namor movie is at least a consideration at Marvel Studios. Regardless of where the character’s film rights currently reside (it’s believed Universal still owns the Namor rights), it’s only a matter of time until Marvel brings the character to MCU fold. Yet, they run the risk of virtually duplicating James Wan’s Aquaman, since the DC character and Namor are practically the same.

However, if Marvel Studios changes one small thing about Namor’s origin, the studio will not only have their next billion dollar franchise, but one that’s also rich in culture and diversity. Indeed, they’d achieve all of this by making Namor of Latino origin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ push for diversity has made them top earners at the box office, as well as cultural ambassadors in mainstream cinema. Black Panther not only became the most successful movie of 2018 in the United States with a whopping $700 million domestic haul, but it was also a cultural phenomenon, breaking and setting records that ultimately made the film a grand Hollywood achievement.

With sights on Oscar glory, Black Panther has garnered multiple nominations across a number of award ceremonies. This success has definitely encouraged Marvel to keep making diverse superhero films with a focus on inclusivity. So, it’s no surprise that their next installments include the likes of Chinese superhero Shang-Chi, a project that’s already in early development, according to Deadline.

Of course, from a business perspective, the movie on Shang-Chi is also to capitalize on the growing Chinese and Asian box office, but nevertheless Black Panther has shown Marvel that diverse superhero films can bring more than just monetary gains.

It’s an unfortunate truth that Marvel doesn’t have any interesting Latino superheroes. Miles Morales has slowly established himself as a fascinating Black/Latino character (due in part to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), but outside of White Tiger, there’s really no Marvel superhero that Latino people can call their own. Yes, White Tiger can be the answer to Latino representation in superhero films, but outside of hardcore comic book readers, the character is widely unknown, even to Latinos.

A market as big as the Latino demographic is one that Marvel will surely turn its attention to rather soon, and they can easily win this market with a Namor film. For one, Aquaman’s success has proven that an underwater superhero is not only profitable but also popular. Second, any similarities to Aquaman can be easily avoided by making the Namor movie a celebration of culture akin to Black Panther, by making Namor half Atlantean and half Latino.

Being born and raised in the Caribbean myself, I’d love for Namor to be of Dominican, Puerto Rican or Cuban descent. Realistically though, given that Marvel Studios and Disney are businesses with the inherent objective of making a profit, it makes more sense for Namor to be of Brazilian descent, since Brazil is Marvel’s biggest demographic at the Latin American box office, according to Box Office Mojo.

Additionally, with CCXP in Brazil easily becoming the biggest comic convention in the world second only to San Diego Comic-Con, there’s really no other setting best fitted for Namor’s MCU place of origin. Also, let’s not forget how deeply rooted the sea is to Latin America with its myths and riveting tales, making the setting an open tropical canvas for Marvel to explore.

Now, what works even more is that there’s precedence in the MCU in favor of Namor being Brazilian. Back in Iron Man 2, a S.H.I.E.L.D. map showed the location of Atlantis smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, just miles away off the Brazilian coast. This not only makes it easier for Marvel to introduce the character with said origin, but it also perfectly ties the knot on one of the MCU’s most prominent plot threads regarding that scene. Now, I’ll admit that while this scene isn’t a rather important aspect in making Namor of Brazilian descent, it’s still an interesting point worth mentioning nonetheless.

Truth be told there’s no comic book precedence of Namor being Latino, but that hasn’t stopped Marvel from switching up character origins and their race/ethnicity in the MCU (i.e. Baron Mordo, Flash Thompson, etc.). Plus, DC did it to Aquaman in the DCEU to positive avail, so Marvel can, and should, do the same with Namor.

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Marvel has brought African culture to mainstream cinema in beautiful fashion with Black Panther, and they are about to do the same with Chinese culture with the upcoming Shang-Chi solo project. Aquaman’s success has undoubtedly sparked an interest in Marvel to pursue a Namor film, making that future endeavor the ideal platform to celebrate Latin American and Brazilian culture in a superhero movie. For a studio open to divertisy and inclusivity, this isn’t only the right move in terms of box office success, but the seeds have already been planted in the MCU for such a thing to come to fruition.