The more things change, the more they stay the same – and nowhere does that adage apply more than Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as a pair of new teaser clips have confirmed that not only will the upcoming sequel retain the studio’s signature ‘humor’, but also that its alterations to Namor’s character are even more extensive than previously detailed.
The first clip, released on October 27th, opens in the middle of a visit by Okyoe (Danai Guiria) and Shuri (Letita Wright) to the Chicago dorm of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne).
Surprised to find them in her room, Riri reacts to the sudden appearance of the Wakandan heroes by demanding that they leave her room.
“I am warning you, do not take another step towards me!” she yells at her guests, picking up a portable speaker to wield as a makes-shift weapon.
It is here, eight-seconds into the clip, that Marvel’s signature humor rears its ugly and awkwardly handled head.
Taken aback by Riri’s feistiness, a shocked Okoye quips to Shuri, “Oh! See how they teach the children to treat their guests!”
In turn Riri chucks the aforementioned speaker at Okoye’s head, only for the Dora Milaje leader to quickly slice it in half with her War Spear.
Shuri then questions, “You brought a spear in here?!”, her delivery desperately begging for a laugh track as Riri (in true Marvel Cinematic Universe form) echoes back, “You brought a spear in here?!”
Met with this quip-questioning, Okoyoe’s attitude immediately flips and excitedly declares, “I like her!” – despite the fact that Riri did nothing to really change the warrior’s mind in the seconds since her previous chastising.
(If one had to chance a guess, its possible that this awkward moment may be the result of poor editing. In the next camera cut, Riri is seen picking up another item, a space heater, to throw at Okoye and Shuri. This action , had it proceeded Okoye’s acknowledgement’, would have given the Dora Milaje something on which to base the reconsideration of her opinion.)
The Marvel ‘fun’ doesn’t stop there though.
In response to Riri’s continued refusal to listen to them, Okoye threatens, “Small, small girl. I am going to give you two options. You can come to Wakanda conscious or unconscious.”
“You need to be conscious of the way that you look,” Riri snarks back, “walking around here with all that ash on your head.”
This questionable one-liner draws a giggle from Shuri, who then proceeds to enter into a ‘playful’ argument with her ally – a tired Marvel Studios favorite.
“Oh it’s funny?” snaps Okoyoe, only to be met by a meek reply of “No, it’s not…” from Shuri, who is actively attempting to hold back her laughter.
As the clip draws to a close, her friend bellows “I TOLD YOU–“, which leads the princess to attempt to amicably end the disagreement by assuring Okoyoe, “You look good!”
The day after this clip’s premiere, Marvel released another yet sneak peek at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, this time focusing on the King of Atlantis (or rather, in this continuity, Aztec-lantis) himself, Namor.
Set in the dead of night and taking place upon the shores of Wakanda, this second clip centers on what appears to be the first meeting between the Sub-Mariner and the two surviving members of Wakanda’s current Royal Family, Shuri and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett).
“Stop, right there!” barks Ramonda as Namor breeches the water and sets food on Wakandan soil. “Who are you?! And how did you get in here?!”
“…This place is amazing,” the Atlantean begins monologuing in return. “The air is pristine. And the water…my mother told stories about a place like this. A protected land with people that never have to leave…that never have to change who they were.”
“What reason do you have to reveal your secret to the world?” he then questions the Queen.
“I am not a woman who enjoys repeating herself,” she fires back. “Who. Are. You?”
It is in Namor’s response that yet another significant, Latin-flavored change to his character is fully revealed.
“I have many names,” explains the wing-footed mutant. “My people call me Kukulkan. But my enemies call me Námor.”
Admittedly a bit hard to fully communicate in text, Namor’s dialogue reveals that rather than being pronounced ‘Nay-More’ like in the original comics, it will be pronounced ‘Nah-Morr’, in order to bring the character more fully in line with his new Aztec/Mayan origins.
As a brief aside, something about Huerta’s depiction of Namor doesn’t feel right.
This is not to say the man is a bad actor, but the Namor seen in the comics is flamboyantly pompous, almost intentionally chewing the scenery whenever he decides to grace the Fantastic Four or the Avengers with his presence.
His character has traditionally been portrayed as that of a king who, rather than emotionally begging for answers to a philosophical question from his enemies, would demand that everyone listen to his orders – or else.
Yet, instead of this classic interpretation, the above clips seem to indicate that Huerta’s Namor will be one who, rather than feeling he has inherently earned the right of superiority over Earth’s land-dwellers, feels he is ‘owed’ that sense of self due to some perceived slight.
Just how indicative of the final product these groan-inducing clips are will be revealed when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11th.