At long last, the mutants are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” hits theaters this November, the sequel will introduce audiences to the first big-screen MCU character who is a mutant – you know, like from the “X-Men.” Actor Tenoch Huerta, who plays the villain Namor in “Wakanda Forever,” confirmed to Empire that his character is indeed a mutant.
The mutants, of course, were previously controlled onscreen by 20th Century Fox in the “X-Men” films, but as a result of Disney’s acquisition of Fox, the Marvel characters are now being integrated into Marvel Studios’ self-contained Marvel Cinematic Universe.
MCU fans met their first mutant in the finale of the Disney+ series “Ms. Marvel,” in which it was revealed that the titular superhero Kamala Khan is almost certainly a mutant. And now Namor makes two.
The antagonist rules an underwater kingdom called Talocan, and in “Black Panther 2” comes into conflict with Wakanda as a result of T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) decision at the end of the first “Black Panther” to reveal Wakanda’s secret to the world.
Writer-director Ryan Coogler, who returns for “Wakanda Forever,” originally hoped to tease the arrival of Namor in a post-credits scene at the end of the first movie.
“Ryan had a pitch for a tag at the end of ‘Black Panther,’” Kevin Feige told Empire. “The camera would push through the palace in Wakanda, and then we’d see wet footprints leading up to the throne.”
Instead, the film’s post-credits scene teed up the return of Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes.
While Coogler’s initial “Wakanda Forever” story found Namor going toe-to-toe with T’Challa, after Boseman’s death, Marvel Studios decided not to recast the role, and Coogler rewrote the screenplay to incorporate T’Challa’s death.
Feige told Empire it was “much too soon” to recast the role of T’Challa, so he and Coogler worked to figure out how to maintain the spirit of the original story in a new draft of the script.
“Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your window. And we had talked about how, as extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do,” Feige said. “The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan poured that into the story.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens exclusively in theaters on Nov. 11.