April 8, 2014

SPOILERS: Why Is Marvel Studios Teasing Namor In Their Movies?

This isn't much of a spoiler, but an aspect of Namor is teased in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We've been slowly seeing similar  tidbits used as Easter Eggs in other Marvel films. Marvel doesn't own the film rights, so what's the deal?

Oracle is a real company and has been a tie-in product placement for films. However, they've really only been Iron ManIron Man 2, Avengers and Iron Man 3. Most notably a giant glass dome Oracle building at Star Expo. Oddly enough, it could be more than just way for Marvel to add revenue by advertising the tech-company. 

As his human alter-ego Namor Mckenzie runs a corporation named Oracle, which secretly helps envirvomental causes. We've seen a bunch of fictional Marvel corporations teases already, mainly Roxxon which has shown up a bunch of times in Iron Man films (along with Coulson's One-Shot). It's possible that humans along with energy companies like Roxxon are destroying the the oceans, where Namor and his people call home. This could spark a bit of tension between the Atlantians and the humans.

Pulling from the headlines BP oil spills/oil sands pipeline and Fukushima Nuclear Plant still leaking radiation into the ocean, could help influence Namor's motives and place him as a threat. Plus, using the fictional Roxxon might be way not name actual companies. We've already seen how the drone program and NSA scandals have made their way into the narrative of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Having an environmental angle to Namor wouldn't be out of place for the character.

Another shot in Iron Man 2 was indeed hinting to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, with SHIELD's meta-human map. Let's just hope that Hydra has been there first.

Surprisingly, theres another hint to Namor but not in a film featuring Iron Man. The name of the SHIELD boat The Lemurian Star in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a direct hint to a group of Namor's villains.

The Lemurians are similar group of underwater dwellers (different from the blue skinned Atlantians, having scales and greenish skin) that are part of another neighboring kingdom. There are mostly at odds with Atlantis and Namor. It's not shocking that a ship aligned with Hydra, would have links to other Marvel villains.

So why is Marvel teasing him? As it stands now Universal Pictures holds the film rights to Namor The Sub-Mariner. They have been trying to develop a feature for years and even had an early script from David Self (The Haunting, Road To Perdition, Bourne Identity, The Wolfman). Self also tried putting together scripts for Captain America, Deathlok, God of War, and the Robocop remake. Then the studio looked to Jonathan Mostow (The Game, U-571, Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines, Surrogates) to write and direct the project, which never came together. I assume because of critically backlash for T3 and Surrogates

Former British Olympic diver turned action-star Jason Statham (Transporter, Expendables, Fast And Furious 7, Snatch, Lock Stock) mentioned a meeting for The Sub-Mariner, in 2008. I'd still love to see Jason in the role, since he's surprising good depending on the material and direction. Fans of Guardians of The Galaxy were a bit shocked when Bradley Cooper (not Statham) took the Rocket Raccoon role. It's currently unknown the status of Namor at Universal. While it seems odd, with such a rise in interest for Marvel films Universal hasn't even hinted to making it.

“I took a meeting for Sub-Mariner. I don’t know if I’d look right running around in a tight speedo with wings on my ankles but there’s so many cool fucking characters.”

The weird thing is, that Marvel hasn't teased other properties they don't own such as X-Men, Spider-Man or Fantastic Four. It's possible that Universal could be developing a co-production similar to The Incredible Hulk, or that Marvel has seemingly found a way to get the rights back (but aren't willing to announced it). However, keeping the film at Universal could allow the studio to make a joint-venture without having to pay the entire production budget. Disney on the other hand, I'm sure would be willing to buy the rights back. As of August 2013, Kevin Feige confirmed the rights are indeed still at Universal. Even though earlier Joe Quesada said otherwise.

It's possible that Namor could have ties to The Inhumans (another in-development film at Marvel) or become the antagonist (starting out as villain to the Avengers before joining them) in almost any future Marvel film. Hopefully, Marvel is able to wrangle the rights back and place him properly. Namor also fought alongside Captain America and Bucky in the super-team the Invaders during WWII. Prince Namor also joined forces with The Hulk and Doctor Strange to form The Defenders, which with different lineup (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage) will have a mini-series on Netflix.

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