‘Avengers: Endgame’ Might Have Secretly Introduced the ‘Black Panther 2’ Villain

Avengers: Endgame brought so many lingering threads in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) full circle. But the 2019 blockbuster still raised enough new questions to keep fans guessing what might come next. The upcoming Phase 4 slate doesn’t feature a direct follow-up to the Avengers movie. Still, Black Panther 2 might be about to pay off a subtle villain tease.

A fan cosplays as Black Panther at the 2018 New York Comic-Con
A fan cosplays as Black Panther at the 2018 New York Comic-Con | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

‘Avengers: Endgame’ teased the MCU version of Namor the Sub-Mariner

Early on in Avengers: Endgame, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) conducts a check-in meeting from the team’s headquarters. Among the heroes in (virtual) attendance is Okoye (Danai Gurira). Eager to continue protecting what’s left of the Earth, Natasha asks her about an underwater earthquake, which Okoye says to leave alone.

Many fans took this reference as a potential tease of Marvel character Namor the Sub-Mariner. In an Avengers: Endgame watch party on Twitter, co-writer Christopher Markus seemed to confirm this. Dating back to 1939, Namor hails from Atlantis and bears some key similarities with DC Comics’ Aquaman. However, he actually predates that character by two years.

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Now a ‘Black Panther 2’ casting announcement could pay that off

For years, Namor fans received mixed signals about the chances the character could join the MCU. At various points, Namor has reportedly been mixed up in rights issues with Universal. But so many other characters have returned home.

After all, the post-Avengers: Endgame MCU will soon include the X-Men and Fantastic Four. So it’s likely Namor has reverted back to Marvel Studios. At least, that’s what the latest Black Panther 2 casting news could mean. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tenoch Huerta has joined director Ryan Coogler’s sequel as “one of the antagonists.”

Though no details were given, fans immediately speculated Huerta — best known for Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico — could be playing Namor. Though Marvel has evolved the character into an anti-hero, he began as a villain who frequently came into conflict with Black Panther.

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How will Marvel Studios reinvent Namor for the MCU?

Right now, it’s unclear whether Huerta is playing Namor. Other popular guesses include Marvel villains White Tiger and Windeagle. But even if Namor doesn’t appear in Black Panther 2, it does feel like only a matter of time until that Avengers: Endgame pays off. And when he does, the MCU will face an entirely new challenge in setting its Atlantean king apart.

After all, Warner Bros. already scored a $1 billion hit with 2018’s Aquaman. And since general audiences aren’t familiar with their comic book history, Marvel will have to work hard to distinguish Namor from Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry. Certainly, pitting a villainous Namor against an established MCU hero feels like a smart way to go.

It all boils down to that pesky rights issue. Until Marvel Studios confirms it can develop its own take on Namor, fans will probably have to continue wondering what to expect. Black Panther 2 feels like a good opportunity though. So MCU fans shouldn’t rule a Namor appearance out.