How Did K’uk’ulkan Get the Name Namor?

Feb 12, 2023

Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.Black Panther: Wakanda Forever drastically alters Namor’s (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) comic book origins. In Marvel Comics, Namor is born from the princess of Atlantis and an American sea captain, inheriting a unique physiology thanks to both Atlantean and human genes. Namor is also an alpha-level Mutant, with his X-gene granting him the power of flight. In the MCU, Namor retains all his powers, but Atlantis doesn’t actually exist. In its place, Marvel Studios developed Talokan, an underwater kingdom inspired by Mesoamerican culture. With this change, Namor also got a new name, K’uk’ulkan, the Plumed Serpent God. What about Namor? How did the antihero get his moniker in the MCU? As it turns out, filmmaker Ryan Coogler found the perfect explanation to tie Namor’s new origins and his name.

RELATED: Here’s All The MCU Easter Eggs in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Why Is Namor Named K’uk’ulkan in the MCU?

Image via Marvel Studios

Talokan’s story begins in the 16th century, when an unidentified Mesoamerican community ingests a plant that grew in vibranium-rich soil. According to this community’s shaman, the plant could save them all from the wrath of Spanish colonizers. What the plant does, however, is change the people’s morphology, giving them gills, enhanced strength and durability, and the ability to communicate with underwater creatures. So the whole community decides to leave the surface world for good, going to the oceans and building the underwater city that would become Talokan.

Namor was still in his mother’s belly when she ingested the unique plant. As a result, Namor became a mutant, coming to life with powers more extraordinary than any Talokanil. Namor doesn’t get blue if he leaves the water, can still absorb oxygen from the air, has extended longevity, and has feathered wings on his heels that allow him to fly. That’s why, at birth, Namor is named K’uk’ulkan, the Feathered Serpent God, a Mesoamerican divinity that can both crawl with its people and roam the skies. K’uk’ulkan’s birth is interpreted as a sign by the Talokanils, and the young boy is chosen to lead his people for many centuries.

Where Does the Name Namor Come From?

Image via Marvel Studios

Since K’uk’ulkan ages so slowly, he still looked like a boy when his mother died of old age. The woman’s last wish was to be buried in the lands where she was born. So, for the first time in decades, K’uk’ulkan leads his people back to the surface world, to honor his mother’s dying wish. When they return to where their community used to live, the Talokanils witness the horrors of colonization. The Spanish took over the country, enslaving the Mesoamericans and forcing them to extract the land’s riches. Enraged by the vision, K’uk’ulkan attacks the Spanish, leading the Talokanils to kill all the invaders.

At that moment, K’uk’ulkan gets his second name, Namor, a monicker he claims only his enemies use. While the Talokanils massacre the Spanish, a priest calls K’uk’ulkan “niño sin amor,” which translates to “child without love.” And since K’uk’ulkan doesn’t love the surface world, he uses the expression as a war tag. That’s how K’uk’ulkan gets the name Namor, short for “niño sin amor.” It’s a massive departure from the comic book name, as Namor meant “Avenging Son” in Atlantean. However, it fits the character’s new origin story perfectly.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now streaming on Disney+.

Read More About ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

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