Namor’s introduction in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever shakes up the concept of MCU gods and raises three major questions about their divine nature. Gods have been part of the MCU since Phase 1 with Thor and the Asgardians. However, the Asgardians were first depicted as a highly advanced alien civilization that just happened to be worshipped by certain cultures. Now, Phase 4 not only confirms that all the world’s deities do coexist, but also introduces an MCU hero who became a god relatively recently in human history.
Namor, the first Talokanil to be born underwater, developed superhuman physiology due to the combination of the Talokanil flower’s effects on his mother’s pregnancy and his innate mutant nature. As a beacon of rebirth for his people, Namor helped Talokan become a thriving underwater kingdom and protected its secrecy for centuries. All of this created the myth of Kukulkan, the Serpent God, and made Namor almost indistinguishable from the gods at Omnipotence City. The definition of “god” in the MCU gets a little blurry as a result, and it puts into question exactly who deserves the honor of being called a deity.
What Makes Someone A God in the MCU?
The Asgardian royals are famous for their immense innate power, long life expectancy, and conquest over the Nine Realms. They thrived for millennia across various generations, at least until Hela caused Ragnarok and the surviving Asgardians settled on Earth. Similarly, the MCU’s Greek Gods seem to have influenced Earth’s ancient mythology before retiring, and Zeus seems to be strong enough to quickly recover from being pierced by his own lightning. Bast influenced Wakanda’s culture and religion, and she also seems to retain her youth at Omnipotence City. Back on Earth, the Egyptian Ennead can’t be perceived by human beings and need to resort to avatars, but they’re still extremely powerful and apparently immortal. Clearly, not all gods share the same abilities and weaknesses. It seems that – besides strength, longevity, and worship — every group of gods can be unique as a species.
The MCU’s gods are also tied to the spiritual and the supernatural. For instance, the Asgardian gods go to Valhalla when they die, while Wakanda’s Black Panthers are guided to the Ancestral Plane by Bast and the Ennead devotees are guided to the Duat by Tawaret. In Thor: Love and Thunder, Zeus complains to Hercules about humans’ shift of attention from the classic gods to modern superheroes, and he vows to correct that. Hence, it’s possible that fewer and fewer humans have crossed the river Styx to arrive at Hades, as religious beliefs seem to be closely tied to the MCU’s afterlife.
Is Namor A Real MCU God?
Namor meets all the criteria to be an MCU deity: he’s extremely powerful, has lived for centuries, and has been a generous king to his people. Namor has even ruled Talokan longer than Thor has ruled Asgard, and human cultures have based myths based on him — Namor is worshipped by the Talokanil as Kukulkan, Talokan’s Serpent God. With the ability to fly and breathe on land, Namor is on par with gods like Thor, Loki, and Zeus, who not only enjoy the natural power boost of their species but also stand out due to their unique abilities: Thor’s ability to wield Mjonir, Loki’s magic, and Zeus’ mastery over lightning. Like Odin, Zeus, Khonshu, and Bast, Kukulkan has a basis in real-life mythology, particularly in the Mayan feathered serpent K’uk’ulkan. Also, Talokan itself is based in the Aztec Tlālōcān paradise, which the MCU combines with the ancient legend of Atlantis.
However, unlike the Asgardians, the Olympians, and the Ennead, Talokan’s mythology doesn’t line up with real-life mythology. The myths of K’uk’ulkan and Tlālōcān already existed before the Spanish conquest, and the rain deity Tlāloc doesn’t seem to have any connection to Namor in the MCU. This can be dismissed as a necessary change for the MCU’s Namor, but he’s still very young in comparison to the rest of the MCU gods, and he’s the only deity in Talokan culture. While these differences can make him come across as a powerful mutant mistaken for a god, they can also highlight him as the only known MCU deity to singlehandedly climb his way to “god” status. Apart from Namor’s no-nonsense attitude and Talokan’s secrecy, his kingdom’s short history may also explain why he isn’t on Omnipotence City’s radar.
Can The Avengers Become MCU Gods?
Namor’s self-made divinity opens the door for more powerful MCU characters to earn their god status. For instance, Thanos’ loyal following could have spread their worship across the universe after Thanos’ Avengers: Infinity War Snap if the Avengers hadn’t intervened. After a couple of centuries, Thanos could have been considered a nearly-omnipotent and all-benevolent god by countless civilizations who wouldn’t have known any better. If they were just as vain as Thanos, Ego and the Celestials could have achieved a similar feat. In fact, the Eternals already influenced various cultures on Earth throughout the centuries, and humans presumably formed their myths and legends with inspiration from both the Eternals and the Olympians.
If powerful and influential enough, modern superheroes could become future gods in the MCU. Iron Man’s sacrifice to save the universe by itself can easily be the foundation for many mythologies and religions, and Hulk’s vast power could earn him many followers on other planets. Hulk was already gathering a large following at Sakaar as a gladiator celebrity, and he performed the Snap that brought back half of the universe just a few years later. Another example is Scarlet Witch, whose arrival was predicted by witches like Agatha Harkness, and is able to bend reality to her will. If powerful magic users like Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange wanted it, they could conquer entire planets, dimensions, or even universes and make all their inhabitants worship them as gods. Taking all of this into account, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s Namor is officially an MCU god by his own efforts, and he has all the power and experience to prove it.