Marvel’s Joe Quesada Chimes-In On ‘Namor: The Sub-Mariner’ Film Rights

Jun 3, 2016


In an interesting development,  Marvel’s King of Atlantis himself Namor: The Sub-Mariner film rights could have returned to Marvel Studios. We’ve known for ages the films rights had been secured by Universal, and some new comments from Marvel might suggest otherwise.

Sub-Mariner-33-cover-by-Sal-BuscemaDuring Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast, Marvel CCO Joe Quesada reveals that the studio has indeed regained the rights to the King of Atlantis “I can’t speak for studios…As far as I know, yeah we do. It’s not at Fox, it’s not at Sony…Yeah.” when asked directly if Namor will be featured in a future film like Avengers: Infinity War the CCO of course said “I cannot confirm or deny, sir.”

Although, Marvel head Kevin Feige called the rights situation “complicated” when speaking with IGN two years ago.

“It’s slightly more complicated than that. Let’s put it this way – there are entanglements that make it less easy. There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it. As opposed to an Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in.”

Joe’s talk here might be less fact and more opinion, he doesn’t sound definite about the rights situation.

At KPOW 2012, Joe had stated that Namor was indeed at Marvel, and this was corrected in 2013 by Kevin Feige when he spoke to Empire stating “that’s at Universal”. It’s possible that he’s just making another mistake again.

However, he did confirm that, to the best of his knowledge, the rights to Namor the Sub-Mariner are held by Marvel Studios.

Universal Pictures might not have any say or control if Marvel uses Namor in their own films, but as we’ve known for ages Marvel has rollout plans created years in advance.

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They’d likely would want to keep certain characters saved for future plans like a Phase Four or Phase Five.A Namor/Atlantis event would make for a solid Earthbound story, since those Earthbound stories are drying-up, there had been teases of him facing-off Iron Man for years, maybe if they ever make Iron Man 4?

Marvel’s conflict with Universal is very different from the current Sony deal for Spider-Man, where Marvel is making their solo films with Sony paying for the production, and the character sharing going on in both Homecoming/Civil War.

Interestingly, it was only just last month Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus revealed they actually want to use Namor in a future movie if allowed.

“[Namor] is kind of a jerk and has a chip on his shoulder and he is a king and lives underwater. The degree of difficulty is so high, though. Cause it could be a great movie or it could be truly terrible.”


Screen shot 2016-06-03 at 3.41.35 AM

The Sub-Mariner movie rights had been actually at Universal Pictures (not Fox or Sony as Joe oddly suggests, you’d think he’d know this) for years, with U-571 and Terminator 3‘s Jonathan Mostow attached to direct it at one point.

It should also be noted, that Joe Quesada was apart of Ike Perlmutter’s Marvel think-tank, who was recently removed by Disney’s Alan Horn, he is now seemingly not as involved with the films as he is with the TV side of things, keep this in mind. His role with Marvel has potentially moved back to strictly comics and television, as people like producers Nate Moore and head of physical production Victoria Alfonso have been promoted to be more hands-on with the actual film productions than Joe.

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Universal is also behind the blocking of a solo Hulk movie, a reason behind Planet Hulk folding into Thor: Ragnarok. It’s possible that Marvel can still use Namor in other films, but might still have to buy-out the contract for the solo film, I’m sure Disney is working on it.

If Namor is being cast like the more recent heroes of the MCU, we’d expected to see either seasoned prestige actors or actors that have strong character skills with action backgrounds. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see some actors that fans wanted to see play Stephen Strange thrown into the mix.

I’d like to see Oscar Isaac (Force Awakens, X-Men: Apocalypse, Drive), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, Neon Demon, Speed, Point Break), Rick Yune (Fast and Furious, Olympus Has Fallen, Die Another Day, Marco Polo), and Edgar Ramirez (Zero Dark Thirty) considered for the role.

Others have suggested the likes of Vin Diesel (has been teasing second Marvel role as Black Bolt) and  Zachary Quinto (has struggled with non-Star Trek projects) as a possible picks as well, as they have supporters.


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