Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s production designer Hannah Beachler recently claimed that the film will indeed include Atlantis despite Marvel Studios’ promotional material making it clear that Namor will no longer reside in Atlantis, but rather the Mesoamerican-themed kingdom of Talokan.
In a press release for their most recent trailer drop, Marvel Studios confirmed the name of the kingdom was Talokan.
The official synopsis reads, “In the film, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of Talokan, the film also stars Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena and Alex Livinalli.”
However, this is in contrast to the original comics where Namor was depicted as an Atlantean figure.
In Fantastic Four Annual #1 published in 1963, Namor was crowned “Prince of Atlantis, Emperor of the Deep, Lord of the Seven Seas, and Supreme Commander of Undersea Legions!”
So it’s a little surprising that Beachler claimed Atlantis was in the film, which she did indeed do while discussing it with Entertainment Weekly.
She told the outlet, “We did a deep dive, because we wanted to get it right. I think this is going to be the freshest Atlantis that you’ll ever see. Certainly with Ryan Coogler at the helm, it’s going to be special.”
It’s possible she’s misspoke and is referring to Talokan as Atlantis, or despite Marvel Studios giving Atlantis a reskin, the creators like Beachler are still treating it as Atlantis.
Another oddity is the fact that Entertainment Weekly is also spelling Talokan as Talocan, which is how other outlets have promoted the kingdom.
Maybe Marvel Studios still hasn’t figured out how they want to spell it because they are afraid one of the spellings might be offensive.
What’s more than likely is this is just another sign of the drop in quality from Marvel Studios that we have seen over the past few years since they decided to change their entire business strategy. Notably they shifted from putting character and story first to ensuring that they are focusing on identity and representation as well as real world political themes.
Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso announced this shift within Marvel Studios back in 2021 when she appeared at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
During a panel session at the festival, Alonso responded to a question about Marvel films always opening at number one in the world, “he reason we have that success consistently is because our audience is global. You cannot have a global audience and not somehow start to represent it… For us, it was really, really, really important to have that.”
She continued, “For the longest of time, we heard a woman-led film will never open. I say, ‘Please check, Captain Marvel made a lot of money.’ Then they always told us that Black Panther was never going to open and that nobody wanted a completely Black cast, and that made $1.3B.”
“So you can look at it from the social point of view, the cultural point of view. But truthfully, this is a business. From a fiscal point of view, you are leaving money on the table by not representing,” Alonso explained.
She also previously hinted at this change in business strategy during a Reddit AMA back in 2019 when she said, “The best part of working for Marvel Studios is 100% all of it. But most importantly, to be able to show new generations the characters that represent them in each and every way has given me great pride.”
Marvel Studios’ box office has not fared well following the release of Avengers: Endgame, which earned $2.797 billion at the worldwide box office.
Since then the only films to eclipse the $1 billion mark are co-productions with Sony Pictures. Spider-Man: Far From Home earned $1.1 billion and Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $1.9 billion.
Black Widow earned a paltry $379.7 million. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings only grossed $432.2 million. Eternals earned $402 million. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was just shy of $1 billion with $952 million, but Thor: Love and Thunder only earned $746 million much lower than its predecessor Thor: Ragnarok, which earned $850.4 million back in 2017.
What do you make of Beachler’s claim that Atlantis will be featured in the film? Do you think it’s just a gaffe?