Concept art of Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reveals a Sub-Mariner design inspired by the classic comic design by John Romita, Sr.
Artist and Marvel animator Joshua James posted his design on Instagram showcasing the Sub-Mariner in his ’70s era costume based on John Romita Sr.’s Sub-Mariner #67 (November 1972). The design features the trademark staff and golden gauntlets initially intended for the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit. “For this version I was trying to stick to the classic black and blue comic design by John Romita Sr.,” James said. “To this day Danielle still calls him Fishman.”
Wakanda Forever’s Unused Namor Designs
James had been asked by Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler to help with the costume design of the Talokan ruler. Although the Romita-inspired design was rejected, James provided the final result of Namor’s costume with a Mayan motif, which also bears influence from his Phoenix Five look from the comics. Both designs are far away from the character’s classic skimpy, Speedos-like look, which to a certain extent, was reflected in the final rendition embodied onscreen by actor Tenoch Huerta.
Other early designs for Namor in Wakanda Forever were created by concept artist Anthony Francisco, who put him in pants and full body paint. “These 2 images were part of the beginning process of finding Namor’s design,” Francisco said. “This was done 1 year before production started. I had 2 months of just explorations!”
Namor’s Skimpy Black Panther 2 Outfit
Regardless, Huerta was excited to take on the classic Marvel anti-hero role, but admitted to being a bit frightened at first when he realized what the character looked like in the comics. Specifically, the aforementioned Namor in Speedos look was a clear source of anxiety for the actor. “The Speedos!” Huerta said. “Fuuuuuck.” Although the actor was able to get into Namor-shape and take extensive swimming training for the film, the costume was still considered Huerta’s “shame shorts” as he walked from his trailer to the set.
Despite the actor’s costume concerns, Wakanda Forever proved to be an international hit with audiences, and his performance was singled out with critical acclaim. In particular, Huerta’s Namor has proven to be very popular with the Latin American community. “I think in general terms, the brown-skinned people feel more attached [to] the character,” Huerta said. “That’s my perception, because a lot of messages are coming from social media and most of them are from brown-skinned people saying, ‘Hey, man, finally I feel proud of my color of skin. Finally, I can feel represented. Finally, I can see someone like me. He’s not just a superhero, he’s a person like me in a powerful role, in a powerful movie making this strong representation.'”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will debut on Disney+ on Feb. 1 ahead of its physical releases on Feb. 7.