A seemingly innocent underwater earthquake in Avengers: Endgame could have been just that. But what if that seismic activity was hinting at something bigger?
Warning: Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame ahead.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe set to enter Phase Four after Spider-Man: Far From Home hits the big screen, there are still several questions that remain, not least of which being what new foes our heroes might come up against.
While Thanos was, by far, the biggest threat that our heroes have ever faced — and one that pushed the Avengers and their allies to the brink, with several casualties along the way — there is now a void that will need to be filled by the next round of antagonists. There are several big players that could step into that void — like Dr. Doom or Galactus — but there may have been a hint at another, Earth-bound antagonist hinted at over the course of Endgame: Namor the Sub-Mariner.
Though Namor may not always play the part of a villain in the strictest sense — throughout his history in the Marvel comics, he’s teamed up with both the Avengers and Defenders — he has shifted his allegiances several times, pitting him against characters like Black Panther. You could think of him as an underwater Loki, in respect to the role that he could play in the MCU, acting as something of an anti-hero, with his own self-preservation at heart.
In fact, Namor’s close connection with both Black Panther and Wakanda is precisely why we did not brush off Okoye’s off-hand earthquake comment when she first reported it to Natasha.
While it could be entirely true that the sub-oceanic quakes off the coast of Africa were nothing to be concerned about, it is equally as likely that Namor could have been responsible for them. But, with more pressing things to deal with, and the potential that Namor and Atlantis are still an unknown to both Wakanda and the wider universe, ignoring an easily explainable natural event seems a foregone conclusion.
You could argue that the line was left in to illustrate how wrung out Natasha is, running point for several Avengers, in a world still hurting from Thanos’ snap. But with Endgame’s three-hour runtime, and each second of it counting, it is likely that it was more significant than just that. There are very few coincidences, after all, when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This moment also does not exist in isolation, as another hint at Namor and Atlantis’ existence came much earlier, during Iron Man 2. While Nick Fury is meeting with Tony Stark at the end of the movie, to discuss the Avengers Initiative, there is a marked up S.H.I.E.L.D. map in the background. One of the markers, which represents either an event or location of interest to S.H.I.E.L.D., is smack-bang in the Atlantic Ocean.
Of course, Namor’s rights are still tied up with Universal — much in the same way as Hulk’s — which means that a solo movie could remain out of the question. However, with Spider-Man and the Hulk able to make significant appearances in other Marvel movies, and team-ups, it is highly likely a similar deal could be struck to allow Namor to feature in any future movies.
Very little is known about Ryan Coogler’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Black Panther movie, but introducing Namor as another complex antagonist could provide the director with an interesting foil to T’Challa and the Wakandans.
There is an interesting storyline from the comics that would work for the MCU, which sees Namor attempt to recruit T’Challa to a secret cabal. A move that, ultimately, ends with Shuri taking up the Black Panther mantle. Equally, setting Namor and T’Challa’s kingdoms up as opposing forces, particularly when the state of Wakanda post-Decimation is still largely unknown, could provide an interesting point of friction — one that might escalate to a full-scale war.
We’re hoping that the potential hint will lead to Namor’s MCU debut. But, whatever Marvel have planned for Phase Four, we are excited to see just how the next decade of movies could pan out.