Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was by far one of the best movies in this new Phase of the MCU. Not only was the plot intriguing and highly emotional, but it also introduced us to several new, important characters. One of them is Namor, who wants to kill the scientist, Riri Williams after she creates a vibranium-detecting device. But why does Namor want her dead?
Namor wants to kill the scientist, Riri Williams, to protect his underwater empire of Talokan. As their leader, he knew greedy surface people would come and destroy Talokan for their vibranium after they used the device Riri created to locate it. He saw her death as the only way of preventing that.
After asking Wakanda for help, however, Namor was rejected by Queen Ramonda and Shuri, who would go on to become the new Black Panther. Due to their rejection – and protection of Riri Williams – Namor waged war upon Wakanda, which had numerous casualties on both sides. Some fans still don’t understand his motives, so let’s explain every detail.
Who is Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
One thing you need to know about Namor the Sub-Mariner is that he is neither a hero nor a villain. In the comics, Namor was one of the first Marvel characters ever, appearing in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 in 1939. He is what we call an antihero – a character walking the thin line between good and evil, right and wrong, hero and villain.
In the MCU, however – that is, in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Namor plays the part of the villain – no antihero stuff here, just a villain. However, he doesn’t see himself as a villain at all – Namor believes that everything he does is to protect his people, and as their leader, he has to stop at nothing to achieve that. So, who are his people?
The story is slightly different in the comics and in the MCU. In the comics, Namor is the King of Atlantis, whereas in the MCU, he is the ruler of Talokan. Both underwater empires rely on vibranium as their source of power, much like Wakanda does on the surface. We’ll focus on the MCU version of Namor and Talokan since that’s what the entire article is about.
The Talokan have kind of a Central-American heritage. They lived on the surface, but after Conquistadors came and destroyed their way of life, Namor’s people found something similar to the Heart-shaped Herb of Wakanda, only in water.
When they drank it and died, they turned into the Talokan as we know them in the movie – blue-skinned people, unable to breathe on the surface, living only underwater. The only difference was Namor. When his mother drank the Herb and died, she was pregnant, causing a mutation in Namor.
He was the best of both worlds – the most powerful among Talokan and the only one capable of breathing surface air. They considered Namor to be not only their leader but a god of sorts. He was there to protect the Talokan empire, no matter what. So, when a threat appeared in the form of a scientist (at least from Namor’s perspective), he decided to act on it.
Who is the scientist Namor wants to kill in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?
Namor discovered that a young, brilliant scientist was up on the surface that created something that was thought impossible to create – a device capable of detecting vibranium. It was essentially made of scraps and some gear she had at hand at school, making the feat even more brilliant.
That scientist was Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. She first appeared as Riri in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 3 #7 in 2016 and as Ironheart in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 4 #3 in 2017. Riri was insanely brilliant – one of the smartest people on the planet – and Tony Stark’s protege. The difference in the MCU is that Tony Stark isn’t her mentor – only her inspiration.
Anyways, after Riri created the vibranium-detecting device, it opened a Pandora’s Box that was essentially the focal point of the entire movie. That device was the reason the Wakandans and the Talokans went to war. Here’s how – and why.
Why does Namor want to kill Riri Williams?
So, Wakanda has vibranium and decided to open itself to the rest of the world. Well, the Talokan have vibranium, too, but their stance never changed – they don’t want to be known to the world, as they fear the worst will happen. Namor feared that the surface people would become greedy and come to Talokan to destroy it and harvest all their vibranium.
Therefore, when he heard of a young scientist who created a vibranium-detecting device, alarms went off in his head, and he went into defense mode. He approached Queen Ramonda and Shuri in Wakanda to ask them to join him in one of two options – either they wage war on other surface nations before it’s too late – or they simply kill the scientist behind the device.
Naturally, Shuri and Ramonda declined and wanted to deal with Riri Williams in their own way – but Namor had different plans. He took Riri and Shuri to Talokan, and in Nakia’s rescue mission, one of his people got killed with a sonic rifle. Namor waged war on Wakanda because of it and killed Queen Ramonda in the process.
It led to Shuri becoming the Black Panther and defeating Namor in the end, making a truce between Talokan and Wakanda while saving Riri Williams from being killed by Namor and promising to keep Talokan a secret from the rest of the world.
That being said, despite the truce, the gig is far from over, and not just the scientist behind the vibranium-detecting device is at risk of being killed by Namor and his people. The entire surface world should brace itself for an all-out war with the Sub-Mariner, and I can’t wait to see this part of the MCU unfold.