Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox and Marvel’s relatively good working relationship with Sony, the vast majority of Marvel’s characters are united under the Marvel Studios banner. However, there are still some holdovers to the days of split rights between the studios. For example, Sony is leveraging Spider-Man villains and supporting characters as a separate cinematic universe. And it turns out that Namor’s solo movie rights are also entangled at another studio.
While speaking with The Wrap, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore addressed the status of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. After Tenoch Huerta made his MCU debut in the role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Moore indicated that “he can return,” but Marvel and Disney can’t produce a solo Namor film. Those rights remain with Universal Pictures.
It’s similar to the arrangement Marvel and Universal have with the Hulk and his associated characters. Universal retains the rights for any solo Hulk movie, but Marvel is allowed to use Bruce Banner and his alter ego in a supporting capacity.
According to Moore, Marvel largely has creative freedom when deciding how to use its shared characters with Universal. But there are also some restrictions.
“It honestly affects us more, and not to talk too much out of school, but in how we market the film than it does how we use him in the film,” admitted Moore. “There weren’t really things we couldn’t do from a character perspective for him, which is good because clearly, we took a ton of inspiration from the source material, but we also made some big changes to really anchor him in that world in a truth that publishing never really landed on, I would argue, in a big way.”
Moore did not address whether Marvel’s arrangement with Universal would preclude Namor from starring in a Disney+ series. Earlier this year, Marvel debuted a She-Hulk series which featured both Hulk and Abomination in guest-starring roles. But it’s unclear if a similar workaround could be applied to the Sub-Mariner.
It’s also worth noting that there hasn’t been a Hulk solo movie since Universal distributed The Incredible Hulk for Marvel Studios in 2008. That was only the second film in the MCU, and one of only four Marvel Studios films that are not directly controlled by Marvel. The other three are the MCU Spider-Man trilogy.
Would you like to see Namor return on the big screen? Or should he get his own show? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Namor Visionaries by John Byrne Vol. 1