Back in the 90s, and the mad scramble to monetize their properties and make some cash as they were on the brink of bankruptcy, Marvel Comics sold the rights to its characters to a number of different studios. The X-Men went to 20th Century Fox (as did the Fantastic Four and Daredevil), Blade went to New Line Cinema, Hulk to Universal, and Ghost Rider to Sony (where he was joined – eventually – by Spider-Man). Slowly, but surely, Marvel’s been bringing everyone back into their bosom, and now it seems another character maybe ready to take their rightful place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not to mention Atlantis.
While appearing on Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada was asked about where things stand with getting the rights to the man known as the Sub-Mariner back to Marvel Studios. “I can’t speak for studios…As far as I know, yeah we do. It’s not at Fox, it’s not at Sony…Yeah,” Quesada said ambivalently.
The rights to Namor expired at Universal last year, but there might still be some tangled red tape to untie before Marvel makes any kind of official announcement. In the past, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige described the situation involving Namor as “complicated,” which may suggest that Universal could still have a piece of the character, like the Hulk, who can be used in Marvel movies, but whose own solo features still require the green light from Universal. Potentially, going forward Namor, might be able to appear in, say, Avengers: Infinity War, but can he expect a full-scale Namor movie soon? That’s to be determined.
Namor, according to comics lore, is the son of a human sea captain and the queen of Atlantis. Sometimes heralded as Marvel’s first mutant, he has the powers of flight, super-strength, longevity, and, of course, the ability to breath underwater. He first appeared in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly in 1939 and has been a part of Marvel lore ever since. He’s fought alongside Captain America in World War II, he later joined the Avengers, and has been an antagonist to both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
So might Namor finally take his cinema bow? Perhaps in a head-to-head showdown with DC counterpart Aquaman? I guess we’ll see.