Sorry, Submariner fans, but all the talk of Namor versus T’Challa in Black Panther 2 is just speculation. It is more likely that you’ll be getting Kraven in his place.
I know some of you have your pitchforks and torches primed and ready, but hear me out.
Rumors of Namor coming to the MCU have abounded since basically day one of Marvel Studios. Why wouldn’t they? The Submariner is one of the oldest Marvel characters, dating back to Timely Comics’ World War II stories. The Prince of Atlantis was even in Marvel Comics #1 back in 1939.
Over the years, as Marvel has dominated the box office, various actors have mentioned wanting to portray Namor on the silver screen. The latest round of speculation has it that Dewayne Johnson, who has already signed up to play Black Adam in the DCEU, would be interested in donning the green Speed-O as the anti-hero.
Introducing Namor in Black Panther 2 makes perfect sense. In the comics, T’Challa and Namor have a storied rivalry, and they despise one another, which would play out well in the MCU. That makes the Submariner the logical choice to oppose Black Panther in the sequel. That has spawned websites to create fan art for a BP 2 logo that is being mistaken for the real thing. Put all that together, and many speculators are jumping the gun, so to speak, and assuming Namor versus T’Challa is a foregone conclusion when it’s not.
According to past interviews with Kevin Feige, the movie and television rights to Submariner are particularly complicated. Considering Disney has the rights to all the Fox properties and those families of characters, Marvel has plenty of other options at its disposal without attempting to navigate the complex situation of Namor.
The much more likely choice for T’Challa’s next antagonist is Kraven the Hunter. There have been plenty of rumors about Kraven coming to the MCU, but what makes his debut in Black Panther 2 plausible comes from director Ryan Coogler. When the original film was released, Coogler stated that he wanted Kraven in that movie. After Black Panther’s massive box office success, we can assume Coogler would be given whichever characters he wants for the sequel.
As I wrote in “Pure Speculation: the Sinister Six,” putting Kraven in Black Panther 2 would help establish him prior to joining the Sinister Six, which Marvel is clearly setting up in the Spider-Man films. Pitting him against T’Challa would give Marvel the chance to tell his origin story so that if he is included in the Sinister Six, mainstream audiences would already be acquainted with him.
Personally, I would be thrilled to learn that I’m completely wrong and Namor will be in the MCU. He is a great character, and I would gladly pay to see him square off with Black Panther. Logically, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Even so, Kraven is an interesting villain who would fit with both T’Challa and Spider-Man, and it will be exciting to see him get his due screen time.