The History Behind the Wakanda vs Atlantis Struggle
As we approach the sequel to the widely popular and wildly successful Black Panther, many fans have speculated and insisted that now is the time to introduce Namor the Sub-Mariner into the MCU. While nothing is officially confirmed for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there’s certainly a wealth of comics history to draw from between T’Challa and Namor. Why are people so drawn to Namor, and what does he have to do with Black Panther?
Ultimately, this discussion extends beyond a conversation of King T’Challa and King Namor McKenzie. This is a battle of two kings, and the countries and people that they defend.
This is a story of Wakanda vs. Atlantis.
Both Wakanda and Atlantis are hidden civilizations with advanced technology and increased militaristic abilities. Each country also decided to separate themselves from the rest of the world for their own safety, and in a way, out of fear. Wakanda feared that their technology would be abused. Atlantis feared that surface dwellers would come and desecrate the mythical city just as they did so many ages ago.
And yet their fears escalate even further when these two once-hidden nations clash with each other. Wakanda and Atlantis have a shockingly intertwined history. Wakanda is the only country in the world with access to Vibranium. However, rumors of its power spread throughout the world, and Namor’s human father was sent searching for this rare material in Antarctica. On his expedition, he met Princess Fen, daughter of Emperor Thakorr of Atlantis. Namor was born as a half-human, half-Atlantean. Few are as powerful as him — especially since he’s a mutant as well.
Namor grew up hating surface dwellers, despite his constant interaction with them. When he was of age, he assumed his rightful place as King of Atlantis. Namor took a stand against the Nazis alongside Captain America and Bucky Barnes with the All-Winners Squad. And during a brief cataclysmic threat, he even fought alongside (and against) the Black Panther.
Black Panther made sure to keep a massive file of secret data about Atlantean weaknesses and specifically Namor the Sub-Mariner, just in case he ever became an enemy. And while Namor wasn’t an enemy to Wakanda at first, he would certainly become one.
Namor’s alliances throughout the years have been fickle. He’s bounced around from working with Doctor Doom to working with Avengers. During the Avengers vs. X-Men comics event, he sided with the X-Men, and eventually became a host for 1/5th of the Phoenix Force. He used this incredible power to amplify his own natural abilities. Tracking the Avengers to Wakanda, Namor created a massive tidal wave that flooded the entire country of Wakanda, effectively destroying the kingdom and killing countless innocent citizens.
During the Incursions, where multiple universes were set to collide, both Black Panther and Namor had to make some very difficult decisions — whether or not they would destroy the other Earths, sacrificing billions of lives to save theirs. T’Challa destroyed a dead and emptied Earth, and even that lead him to feel remorseful. He completely refused to destroy an inhabited Earth, despite the anger of his ancestors. Namor didn’t think twice. He acted in the best interest of his nation.
The politics are complicated, but ultimately, tensions remained high between Wakanda and Atlantis. While Black Panther attempted to create peace with Namor, Wakanda as a whole was not ready or willing to forgive. T’Challa’s uneasy reconciliations with Namor caused deep unrest among the Dora Milaje as well as the Wakandan queen. As a result, Queen Shuri attacked Atlantis and completely decimated its structure and population.
Namor returned home to find his kingdom destroyed, and a message from Proxima Midnight and Thanos’ Black Order. Thanos was looking for the Infinity Gems. Proxima Midnight saw the destruction of Atlantis, and offered to spare Namor’s life in exchange for the location of an Infinity Gem, and his allegiance to Thanos.
Namor agreed to align himself with Thanos. He also lied and said that there was a gem hidden in Wakanda. After Atlantis was destroyed, he wanted Wakanda to suffer. He knew that the Black Order would attack Wakanda searching for the fabled Infinity Gem.
Wakanda barely survived, and neither Wakanda or Atlantis have forgiven each other from the past. There is no end in sight to their war. The only thing that brings them together is an even larger threat.
Why would people want to see Namor in Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever? They want another powerful villain for Black Panther’s films, and Namor certainly fits that role. While Namor has been treated as an antihero in the comics for a long time, fans want to bring him into the MCU by any means possible — even if that means accessing his antagonistic side.
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