Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concept artist Anthony Francisco breaks down Namor’s necklace in detail and the various inspiration behind it.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concept artist Anthony Francisco breaks down Namor’s necklace. Released in theaters this past November, the sequel to 2018’s Black Panther follows the new leaders of Wakanda as they rise up to defend their nation from invaders in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. Leading the attack on Wakanda is Namor who, played by Tenoch Huerta, is the King of the ancient underwater kingdom of Talokan. One of the most distinct aspects of Namor’s appearance is his necklace.
Ahead of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s release on Disney+, Marvel Studios visual development artist Anthony Francisco took to Twitter to share his final design for Namor.
In a Twitter thread, the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concept artist also broke down the character’s necklace, including all the real-world inspiration that went into designing the piece. Read what he shared below:
It was fun exploring the look of Namor as well as his people of Tlalocan early on. The necklace for Namor was a treat to design. Looking to Mayan glyphs and architecture for inspiration! But the break though would come in a dream! I would imagine that I was an artist living in that time and looking for work. This was when I saw the 2 serpents on the necklace in my dream. Then I woke from my dream and started designing with Kukulkan in mind. I explained that the 2 serpents represented the duality of Kukulkan. He is the bringer of life and death. The pearl in the middle represents the sun/moon or life, so depending how you see it, the winged serpent is either giving you life or taking it away from you. I watched a lot of documentaries about the Mayans, the Olmecs and the Aztecs. I also looked at ancient indigenous people of the north, south Americas as well as in Asia. What are the similarities and differences I can push. I want to share so much more of my journey I learned more of the history of Mexico, the colonization of a people and the attempt of erasing of their language and culture. This was some of the sad parts of my research that made this journey a bit more emotional to me because I also come from a country colonized by Spain.
MCU Namor’s Connection To Real History Made His Character Better
As the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever concept artist reveals, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Namor, especially his signature necklace, has various connections to real history. For starters, the sequel changes Namor’s homeworld from the comics, Atlantis, to Talokan, the latter taking its name from Tlālōcān, the Aztec paradise ruled by their rain deity, Tlāloc. However, the MCU’s submerged city-sate takes more inspiration from Mayan culture than Aztec.
Namor’s necklace design is also based heavily on Mayan culture, as the visual artist looked to Mesoamerican glyphs and architecture for inspiration. The two serpents on Namor’s necklace represent the duality of the Mesoamerican serpent deity K’uk’ulkan, who brings both life and death, while the pearl in the middle also has a double meaning, representing the sun and moon. In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Namor’s people refer to him as Kukulkan, while only his enemies use the Namor moniker, which originated as a boy when his fellow Talokanil killed Spanish colonizers who named him “El Niño Sin Amor,” meaning “Child Without Love.”
All these changes from the comics to make Namor inspired by real history arguably makes the MCU version a better character. In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, one of Namor’s main motives in attacking Wakanda is his bitterness at the surface world for enslaving the Mayan people. Giving him a reasonable motive behind his actions that is connected to real history, makes Namor a much more sympathetic and complex villain, similar to Black Panther‘s Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
More: Namor’s Mutant Confirmation Means Big Things For His MCU Future
Source: Anthony Francisco/Twitter