- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
- Tenoch Huerta confirmed to Empire that his character Namor is a mutant.
- This may make Namor the first and oldest mutant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Earth-616.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” antagonist Namor may be the first mutant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s main timeline.
In the new movie, which premiered last week, Namor (Tenoch Huerta) is the main antagonist of the sequel and threatens to destroy Wakanda. Later in the film, when Namor explains his backstory to Shuri (Letitia Wright), he uses the word “mutant” for the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to describe himself.
In the comics, Namor was also the first mutant introduced in 1939, although he wasn’t called a mutant until after the X-Men’s introduction in 1963.
It appears that the MCU is finally ready to start introducing mutants officially, and Namor is one of the first to make that leap.
Namor is still technically a mutant despite being born with abilities
Fans may be wondering how Namor was born with his powers if he is a mutant.
In the comics, and in multiple adaptations, mutants are born with a special gene, called the X-gene, but this only activates during puberty, causing a mutation. However, in Namor’s case in the movie, he is born with his abilities, including the feathered wings around his feet.
While this may imply that the MCU is getting rid of the puberty transformation, there is a comic-established reason for this difference. Like all mutations, there are some exceptions to the puberty rule and mutants such as Multiple Man, Hope Summers, Nightcrawler, and Beast were born with mutations.
Multiple Man was born with his abilities because he’s part of a special off-shoot of mutants called “Changelings” or “Homo Killcrop.” Meanwhile, other mutants can be born with mutations after being exposed to radiation in utero.
Since Namor’s mother was exposed to a vibranium-infused plant, potential radiation from the plant could have activated the villain’s mutant genes earlier.
In the main timeline, Earth-616, Namor is the oldest mutant so far
Technically, Namor isn’t the first mutant we have seen in the MCU, although he may be the oldest.
Namor explains in “Wakanda Forever” that he was born in 1571, making him roughly 453 years old if the film takes place in 2024.
In the alternate universe in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier from Fox’s “X-Men” franchise makes a brief appearance. On the one hand, this could mean that every part of the “X-Men” franchise is canon. If that’s the case, the “X-Men” villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) would be thousands of years older than Namor and would be classified as the firstborn mutant.
However, it is still not clear if the “X-Men” universe is canon since no other characters have made the jump to the MCU. If the X-Men are out there somewhere, they are possibly part of other dimensions in the multiverse, like Earth-838 (as seen in “Doctor Strange”), and not part of the Earth-616 canon.
The only other confirmed mutant is Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani). At the end of the “Ms. Marvel” finale, her friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) told her she has a mutation and the “X-Men ’97” theme song starts to play.
It is never explicitly confirmed that Ms. Marvel is a mutant but “Ms. Marvel” co-creator Sana Amanat seemed to confirm so in an interview with Empire shortly after the episode aired in July.
Amanat told the publication that she originally intended for Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel to be a mutant rather than an Inhuman, as she is in the comics.
With three mutant appearances in one year, it’s only a matter of time before the mutant race is fully established in the MCU.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is in theaters now.