Concept art of Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reveals a Sub-Mariner design inspired by the classic comic book design by John Romita, Sr.
Never-before-seen Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concept art reveals Namor’s original Marvel Comics-accurate ’70s design.
Artist and Marvel animator Joshua James posted his design on Instagram, showcasing the Sub-Mariner in his ’70s costume based on John Romita Sr. Sub-Mariner #67 (November 1972). The design features the trademark staff and golden gloves originally intended for the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit. “For this version, I tried to stick to the classic black and blue comic book design of John Romita Sr.,” said James. “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 delivered the final result of Namor’s costume with a Mayan motif, which also takes influence from his Phoenix Five look from the comics. Both designs are a far cry from the character’s classic scrawny, Speedos-like look, which was somewhat reflected in the final rendering embodied on screen by actor Tenoch Huerta.
Other early designs for Namor i Wakanda forever was created by concept artist Anthony Francisco, who put him in pants and full body paint. “These 2 images were part of the beginning of the process of finding Namor’s design,” said Francisco. “This was done 1 year before production started. I had 2 months of just exploring!”
Namor’s Skimpy Black Panther 2 Outfit
Either way, Huerta was excited to take on the classic Marvel anti-hero role, but admitted to being a bit scared 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. “Speedo!” Huerta said. “Woooow.” Although the actor was able to get into Namor form and take extensive swimming training for the film, the costume was still considered Huerta’s “shorts of shame” when 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 highlighted with critical acclaim. Huertas Namor in particular has proven to be very popular among the Hispanic community. “I think in general the brown-skinned people feel more attached (to) the character,” Huerta said. “It’s my opinion, too many messages come from social media, and most of them are from brown-skinned people saying, ‘Hey man, I finally feel proud of my skin color. 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 that makes this powerful representation.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuts on Disney+ on February 1st ahead of its physical releases on February 7th.