Black Panther: Wakanda Forever introduced a brand new anti-hero to the MCU, Namor. Even though Namor is one of the first Marvel characters ever created and published, it took a surprisingly long time to see him in the MCU. Even though Namor’s powers and his villainy anti-hero nature translated well to the MCU from comics, his origin story was completely revamped. In the comics, we’ve learned to associate this aquatic hero with Atlantis and somewhat Asian-looking features. ‘Black Panther 2’ completely changed this; now, Namor has a different yet exciting Meso-American history and influences. Due to this, we’ve decided to explore Namor’s revised origin and to see whether he is Aztec or Mayan?
Namor is Mayan in the MCU but officially belongs to the Talokanil race. The Talokanil are generally described to be a Yucatán-Mayan tribe who ingested vibranium-enriched plants after they were infected by smallpox by the European colonizers. Ingesting the plant was what saved them but also turned them into superhumans perfectly adapted to aquatic life, which we’ve seen in the MCU. Even though Talokanil are stated to be Mayan in origin, they were also heavily influenced by Aztec civilization due to the elements that both civilizations had in common.
Now that we’ve covered that Namor was Mayan, it’s time to clear up where the confusion stems from. It would seem that some elements that inspired Namor, Talokan, and Talokanil were taken or inspired by the Aztec civilization as well. If you want to find out everything about it and see what aspects were borrowed, stay with us and keep reading!
What is Namor’s ethnicity in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
Namor is Mayan in the ‘Black Panther 2.’ He is both a mutant and a member of the superhuman race Talokanil. Talokanil were once regular humans who died due to the highly deadly disease smallpox that was introduced to the Yucatan peninsula when the European colonizers arrived.
To save themselves, Talokanil started ingesting vibranium-enriched plants, which turned their skin bluish in color and gave them super strength, the ability to breathe underwater. It also made it impossible for them to breathe air on the surface. This is why Talokanil permanently established an underwater kingdom known as Talokan.
Now it’s clear that this is a story influenced by Meso-American civilizations such as Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs, and even though there are similarities between the three cultures and all of them share some aspects, such as deities, those civilizations are not the same.
Much of the confusion about whether Namor is Aztec or Mayan stems from the fact that MCU’s Talokanil civilization was influenced by bother Mayans and Aztecs, but the civilization itself is completely Mayan.
The first clue for this is their original location. Talokanil was formerly a tribe that inhabited a small part of the Yucatan Peninsula. The Mayan empire largely controlled the Yucatan peninsula and can be considered the central point of the Mayan rule regarding Meso-American territories.
It’s clear from the location alone that Talokanil were Mayan, but the name of their tribe and underwater kingdom is rooted in Aztec civilization.
Talokan comes from the Aztec god Tlāloc. Tlāloc was a deity associated with rain, and he oversaw the place that served as an afterlife for the souls of people that died under the circumstances connected with water.
This is such a brilliant detail and a brilliant connection to make. So in a sense, even though the Talokanil were Mayan in origin, their civilization was largely inspired by the watery afterlife and the Aztec god of rain, Tlāloc.
Why is Namor called Kukulkán in the MCU?
In the MCU, Namor is referred to as K’uk’ulkan. This name was inspired by the Mayan deity Kukulkán the lord of death and rebirth. It makes sense that Namor’s people refer to him as such because Namor was largely seen as the god among other Talokanil due to his power and mixed Talokanil – mutant ancestry.
Even though the Maya god inspired Kukulkán, you can just as easily connect the name to Quetzalcoatl, an Aztec War-serpent deity with a similar role and description.
As you can see, the location of both the Talokanil tribe and Namor’s name indicated that Talokanil were, in fact, Mayans. In addition, Tenoch Huerta, the actor behind the portrayal of Namor in the MCU, stated that he learned the Mayan language specifically for the role.
What was Namor’s origin changed in the MCU?
In the comics, Namor is the ruler of Atlantis, an underwater kingdom with some obvious Greco-Roman influences. He is also depicted with obvious Asian influences, having dark hair and somewhat slanted eyes.
It was a shock to see Namor’s character and his origin completely revamped and portrayed as a character with clear Meso-American origin. But why the need for such a drastic change?
It’s easy. Namor’s origin changed because it was too similar to that of Aquaman from the DC universe. Aquaman is likewise a water-based superhero, a ruler of Atlantis with metahuman origins. When somebody mentioned Atlantis in the context of comic books, your first association with the place is probably Aquaman, which needed to be avoided in the MCU.
It’s important to mention, however, that Namor actually predates Aquaman. The character was created two years before DC created Aquaman.
Still, it was wise to change Namor’s origin story in the MCU and his overall inspiration since, due to DC’s Aquaman movie success, people would most likely connect the two characters in all the wrong ways.
So, Is Namor Mayan or Aztec?
Namor is Mayan. His Talokanil tribe is Mayan as well. They were inhabiting the Yucatan peninsula, which is generally the center of Mayan power.
Namor’s other name, K’uk’ulkan, was likewise inspired by the Mayan god. Even though the civilization was Mayan in origin, it has some Aztec influences, like the name of the underwater kingdom and Namor’s people in general.
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