Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a great unknown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the tragic loss of star Chadwick Boseman, it’s still unclear where Wakanda’s future lies without T’Challa.
Boseman’s passing throws Wakanda Forever’s story into question, and that T’Challa won’t be recast for the sequel leaves a large gap in terms of heroes. However, as cameras roll on the Ryan Coogler-directed film in Atlanta, one new rumor suggests there will be far more to the world of Black Panther than just Wakanda.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has rumored to have cast Mexican actress Mabel Cadena as Namora, the cousin of classic Marvel antihero Namor the Sub-Mariner (via Murphy’s Multiverse). For the uninitiated: Namor is Marvel’s answer to Aquaman, with a shade more moral ambiguity around the gills. Sometimes, he fought alongside the Avengers; sometimes he fought against the Fantastic Four. Always, Namor did what he wanted.
Cadena is currently posting Instagram photos of herself in Atlanta, where Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is filming. Could Cadena be playing a minor villain allied with Namor in the upcoming film?
Rumors persist that Atlantis will soon be introduced in the MCU. Doctor Strange in the Multitude of Madness lists actress Yenifer Molina as Gargantos, a giant-octopus henchman to one of Namor’s rivals. Scoop site The Illuminerdi also recently claimed Narcos: Mexico star Tenoch Huerta has been cast as Namor himself.
If Namora’s in the picture, Namor’s introduction is likely more substantial than previously thought. In the comics, as fellow leaders of a secret underground kingdom, Namor and Black Panther have always been rivals. And so Cadena’s possible involvement could be our first hint that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is adapting the comics storyline where Namor flooded Wakanda, sparking a war between the two kingdoms.
This all harkens back to a throwaway line in Avengers: Endgame, in which the surviving Avengers debrief from their various corners of the world. Okoye (Danai Gurira), reporting from Wakanda, tells her allies of underwater earthquakes that “we’re handling.” Many believed this to be the first clue that Atlantis was rising from the depths. Two years have since passed with few clues as to the story of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Eventually, it seems hard to deny Atlantis could make a splash in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s just a matter of which film will bring this underwater world back to the surface.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to premiere in theaters July 8, 2022.