If It Was a Movie Special 616 Columnist Crossover: Namor the Sub-Mariner!
By Jon Dorman and Kevin McVicker
Hey there, hi there, ho there, M6P-patriots!
You knew that it had to happen sooner or later, and here it is! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! Not a fabrication! You now find yourself reading the one, the only, the earliest exciting excursion into essaying excellence elucidated by extra epistolarians. You, dear reader, are about to enjoy the FIRST EVER MARVEL 616 POLITICS MULTI-COLUMNIST CROSSOVER!
I’m certain it’s just as exciting for each and every one of you as the first time the Fantastic Four faced the Incredible Hulk, the heroes of the Avengers first joined forces. And if you’ve done your homework to learn the super-history of the Marvel-616 universe (we know this isn’t the Marvel 616 History, but, please, indulge us a bit) you’ll Imperius Recollect the story that let us know there WAS a Marvel  Universe, when the Sub-Mariner faced the Human Torch! Well wouldn’t that be convenient, because today your prime pals Jon Durmin and Kevin McVicker (hey, that’s us!) have fabricated a feature that focuses on that forerunner of the 616, Namor the Sub-Mariner.
If you’ve been keeping up with your M6P missives on facebook (and we sure hope you all are facebook fans. *sniff* we’d be mighty sad to find out you don’t like us) you may have noticed a relay from esteemed editor Jarid Mayo where another site’s Interviewer Got News from Marvel studios head Kevin Feige regarding the film rights to marvels superman of the seven seas.
Here’s a look:
IGN: Finally, there were rumours circulating awhile back that Universal and Legendary Pictures were developing a Sub-Mariner movie, but there was also some confusion about who holds the rights to the character. So could Legendary make that movie at this point?
IGN: So if a film were to happen it would be you guys making it?
Feige: Yes, but 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.
Well that sounds like some potentially exciting news, but it also tells us that there are plenty of threads to untangle that are tying up Namor’s film prospects. It’s one of the downsides of his place as a central figure in the Marvel Universe (as outlined in very first of Jon’s Analogies to Amaze!); he’s been a core figure in the history of the Fantastic Four (Fox), an Avenger (Marvel Studios), an X-Man (Fox), a founding member of the Defenders (Marvel Studios & Netflix), a key member of the Illuminati and Cabal (Fox AND Marvel Studios), an ally of Dr. Doom (Fox) and Alpha Flight (probably Marvel Studios, but maybe Fox) alike, and an Invader (Marvel Studios). As can be plainly perceived by our parenthetical ponderings that position makes him particularly prone to petty parlaying on the part of the producers and purveyors of pictures in motion for the position to possess permission to present our preferred piscine powerhouse. But never fear true believers because Kevin and Jon have combined their cranial capacity to concoct a solution; a proposal for a Namor, the Sub-Mariner film of epic proportions that could rival all others in the genre without a whit of reliance on Namor’s association with all those other hallowed heroes (or intellectual properties, if you prefer).
Now prepare to be astounded by our first ever collaborative If It Was A Movie . . . as Kevin concocts a capital cast for Jon’s perfect plot proposal. And just because we really do love you dear reader, we’re giving you the cast and story of not one, not two, but a whole TRILOGY of Namor films! If you’re with Marvel Studios, Universal or Fox don’t hesitate to give us a ring! For the rest of you be warned there might be spoilers ahead. And to one and all we call on you to let loose the cry of the one, true Sub-Mariner: IMPERIUS REX!!!
Namor: The Sub-Mariner
The first movie is our obligatory origin story. We start by briefly showing bits and pieces of Princess Fen & Captain Leonard McKenzie’s forbidden romance tragically cut short and culminating in the birth of Namor in the court of Emperor Tha-Kor. This will be followed with short vignettes of Namor as a boy & young man in Atlantis that introduce us to his uncle Byrrah, Captain Meranno, Vashti, and perhaps even Dorma & Krang (the latter two much younger than Namor) teasing their larger roles in the second and third movies. In this first act of the first movie our conflicts are a friendly rivalry between Byrrah and Namor, Meranno’s unrequited lust for Fen and the throne, and the disgust Tha-Kor, Meranno and other Atlanteans feel towards Namor’s alien, surface heritage.
The excitement really blows up in late 1939 when the fallout of a Nazi attack on an Allied convoy devastates the Atlantean capital. Tha-kor finally sees his grandson as an asset rather than a disgrace of Fen’s indiscretion and dispatches Namor to infiltrate and sabotage the “surface men”. Not understanding surface geopolitics Namor is sent to the largest population center with an Atlantic port, New York City. He proceeds to challenge mankind at Coney Island, battling his way towards Manhattan, but his rampage is stemmed when he encounters Betty Dean. This intrepid young policewoman with whom Namor shares a mutual attraction, ultimately helps him to understand the nature of the World War conflict.
Working with Betty, Namor identifies the Nazi swastika as the same emblem on the U-Boats that decimated Atlantis and decides to help the Allies. This provides an opportunity for some Namor in WWII action. We can have a scene of Namor participating in amphibious landings (D-Day or Anzio perhaps) where Namor runs ashore with Allied troops and breaks Nazi war machines and bunkers as bullets bounce off him. We can see Namor turning the tide of battles in the sea and air against the German wolf packs and the Luftwaffe. We see Namor in the Pacific fighting against Imperial Japan and saving the lives of countless American Marines and sailors, including a Navajo Windtalker (this will be important later). (Maybe there could be an officer by the name of Newell or Arliss or both in one of these scenes as a tease of things to come.)
While this is going on we see that Captain Meranno (we don’t have a lot of background on him in the comics, so he could be associated with the Atlantean military) has been in contact with the Nazis and arranged the battle that devastated Atlantis in an attempt to weaken Tha-Kor & the royal family’s position with hopes of establishing a military dictatorship that will join the Axis powers. We end our first feature with a big duel between Namor & the older, more experienced U-Man that ends with Namor defeating Meranno but being seemingly lost. Their battle destroys more of Atlantis and Fen loses her life for which the combatants blame one-another. Meranno is crippled in the battle, marked forever as a traitor and exiled from Atlantis by Tha-Kor. In a post credits scene we see an Amnesiac Namor in the 1960s stumbling onto his super strength in New York.
Namor: Prince of the Realm
Okay, Movie plot numero dos! We open with Namor still amnesiac and derelict during the Cold War. Without either version of the Human Torch available for our plot we can turn to Walt “not-quite-yet-Stingray” Newell, Diane “not-quite-yet-Mrs-Newell” Arliss, or Todd “not-quite-yet-Tigershark” Arliss as potentially integral to Namor recovering his memory. This will allow us to establish a bond with these three classic Namor supporting cast members for the remainder of the films. His memory restored and some new ties to the surface found in the form of Newell and the Arliss siblings, Namor learns that the one-time woman of his hearts-desire, Betty Dean has passed.
Namor returns to the sea to discover the Atlanteans have become nomads led by General Krang outside the ruins of Atlantis. Along the way he finds affection and admiration from Lady Dorma, a loyal supporter in Vashti, and a grudging political ally in Byrrah. With their help he is able to wrest the reigns of leadership from the glory hungry Krang. Namor then leads the nomads back to Atlantis to rebuild. Krang, desperate to regain his position of authority launches a glory seeking attack on the surface world (let’s say Washington D.C. or New York City). Namor defeats Krang and stems his attack with the help of his allies in Atlantis and on the surface, but he is too late to stop it entirely and television footage that makes it appear as though Namor made the attacks himself is visible worldwide. The result is sudden, broad public knowledge of Atlantis that sets the US and other world powers into a tense state of affairs with the undersea kingdom. Krang is exiled for his treachery and ambition & Namor ascends to the throne with Dorma pledged to wed him. Byrrah is throughout this becoming increasingly resentful of Namor’s stature and recognition as a leader. In out post-credits scene we see a wandering Krang encounter a mad old man near a distant encampment of Atlantean barbarians. By the end of the post credits scene it is hinted that this is an aged Meranno and we catch our first glimpses of Attuma & Llyra.
Namor: The Avenging Son
The final chapter in the Namor cinematic trilogy! This film opens with Namor collapsing in a desert before heading into a flashback. Namor has wed Dorma & things seem to be organized in his court, but treachery is afoot. A peace summit has been negotiated by Diane & Dr. Walt Newell to help establish regular diplomatic relations between Atlantis and the nations of the surface world. Dorma is murdered and replaced by Llyra. Krang begins appearing on talking-head “news” programs (real Fox News type stuff) with the support of Dr. Dorcas, talking about Atlantis as a rogue state, terrorist state, etc. They implicate Namor for Meranno’s collaboration with the Nazi’s and harp on recently declassified information about Namor’s own attack on New York in 1939/1940. Krang convinces much of the media and many political leaders that Namor is a despotic tyrant and that he is the one holding Atlantis back from joining the world of nations. Attacks are then staged by Attuma’s barbarians, made up to look like loyal Atlantean soldiers that devastates New Orleans, Miami, and Houston. This prompts a response from the US government in alliance with Krang’s “Democratic Army for the Liberation of Atlantis” (Actually Attuma & his forces with a change of clothes). Dorcas has created a force of American-Made super agents to directly target Namor tht include Tigershark (now largely estranged from Dianne and Walt Newell), Piranha & Orka.
The attack on Atlantis is a swift, devastating shock & awe style assault that leaves the kingdom a total wreck. Taken by surprised and overwhelmed by Dorcas’ agents and Attuma Namor is defeated and captured. Llyra (as Dorma) publicly denounces and condemns Namor before the Atlantean people naming him a coward who has abandoned and failed his people. She asserts leadership of Atlantis with Byrrah as a figurehead, Attuma as her real partner & leader of the military, and Krang more or less brushed aside despite her assurances that he would rule with them. Little is done to rebuild and Byrrah begins to become disillusioned as Attuma’s soldiers routinely oppress and terrorize the Atlantean people. Llyra begins to pillage Atlantean mineral reserves for sale to the surface world while she and Attuma assemble a massive invasion force to conquer coastal territories in the US, China & elsewhere. Walt Newell is forced to go underground and Dianne is arrested as a terrorist by a comission on Atlantean affairs headed by Dorcas.
Namor’s body is recovered following his battle with the Invasion force and he is dumped by the Dorcas’ agents in the desert of New Mexico where he is left to die, knowing the truth of everything that has happened. Here we rejoin the start of the movie. Namor is rescued by the family of the old Navajo Windtalker he saved during the first film and they manage to make contact with Newell. Newell gets Namor up to speed on what has happened, and they hatch a plan to avenge Dorma & Atlantis, save Diane and clear Namor’s good name. Newell takes up the Stingray mantle & gets Namor into contact with Commander Andromeda, a leader in Krang’s/Attuma’s army who truly believed she was fighting for a better Atlantis and has become disillusioned by the way things have actually gone. Byrrah & Krang are also becoming disillusioned. When Byrrah challenges Lyra’s decisions and tries to remove her from the royal court she has Attuma’s agents murder him and paints his death as an assassination carried out by a coalition of surface nations keen to destroy Atlantis.
Lyra and Attuma launch their attack on the surface only to encounter Namor & Stingray. Dorcas’ Agents, (the Deep Six or Fathom Five, or Tidal Trio or whatever) arrive with with a US coastal defense force to meet the invaders & apprehend Namor. Dorcas has made a clandestine agreement with Llyra that they will all walk away, while losses to the human defenders will be severe enough to start a mass war that profits him, Llyra & Attuma at the expense of the surface world and Atlantis alike. Andromeda turns on Llyra/Attuma and her loyal soldiers join Namor’s side turning the battle into a 3 way conflict between the US military, Attuma’s horde & Namor’s allies. As the battle rages Tiger Shark & Stingray trade blows and it becomes clear that the latter was told that his brother-in-law (Stingray) had killed Diane. When he learns that his sister is alive, Tiger Shark turns on Dorcas and joins the battle for himself, fighting against the rest of his team in a frenzy with an eye to kill Dorcas.
In the midst of the battle Namor and one of the American commanders encounter a mortally wounded Krang who apologizes for what had become of Atlantis and reveals the truth about Llyra; that Dorma did not betray him, and finally pledges his loyalty to Namor. Most of the US forces and the Atlanteans that were loyal to the crown cease fighting. Under the direction of Namor & Andromeda the surviving members of the Fathom Five/Deep Six/Tidal Trio and Attuma’s horde are rounded up and taken prisoner. Llyra makes a last ditch effort at a victory by going straight to her secret end-game and summoning Set.
As all this is going on Stingray has pursued Dorcas to his government headquarters where Diane is being held. Dorcas activates his own mutations and after an intense public battle in the streets outside Dorcas’ HQ is about to kill Walt. Just in the nick of time Tigershark arrives and, lost in a blind rage, eviscerates Dorcas.
Meanwhile, Set’s attack is devastating the joint Atlantean American force. Even Attuma turns to fend off Set, only to be killed. Namor ultimately defeats Set in single combat, a confrontation broadcast on live television & all over the internet thanks to the bystanders’ smartphones. Namor is almost slain, but awakes weeks later to find that Andromeda & the Newell’s have negotiated a cease-fire with the US government and that his name has been cleared. As the future looks brighter and calmer Namor finally allows himself to grieve and mourn Dorma’s death. Cuts forward into the months to follow reveal that Diane Newel has been named the US ambassador to Atlantis, that the US is sponsoring Atlantis for UN membership, that Newell has decided to adopt the Stingray identity full-time and that Tigershark is still out there, lost in his mutation to ever increasing savagery. Finally, after leaving an appearance at the UN, Namor sits alone and incognito on the beach at Coney Island. His solitude is broken as he notices a young woman who bears a resemblance to Betty Dean . . .
Now that you’re all so excited you could burst thanks to Jon’s pulse-pounding plots prepare to be even more pumped-up as we present Kevin’s perfect picks for performers. Read on!
Prince Namor Prentiss-McKenzie, the Sub-Mariner – Oscar Isaac
Let’s start by understanding one thing about Namor: he’s comics’ first true antihero. Because of this we need someone who can play Namor as bordering at villainy for parts of these films. Namor is arrogant and quick to anger, yet still he is noble, loyal and heroic. He’s an extremely complicated character. To gather these characteristics into one figure and still make them a compelling and sympathetic protagonist will require an extremely skilled actor. Even though he has often played the villain, Oscar Isaac’s past roles have similarities that echo what we need for Namor. We will most likely get to see him play a villain in the upcoming Star Wars movies. But those roles compounded with the tragic character of Llewyn Davis, I think, make Isaac the perfect actor to play Marvel’s first character.
Captain Meranno – Arnold Vosloo
The typical villain actor is typically in those roles because he’s so good at them. From The Mummy to G.I. Joe he’s shown he’s not only a fun bad guy, but that he is also not averse to geek-genre films.
Betty Dean – Diane Kruger
Diana is probably best known for her roles in the National Treasure movies. However, if you’ve watched The Bridge or Inglorious Basterds then you are well aware of her depth as an actress. While it would be easy find multiple actresses easily capable of this role, I think Kruger has a look that would fit well in period clothing as well as the charisma to hold her own in scenes with Isaac’s Namor.
Captain Leonard McKenzie – Rufus Sewell
Sewell not only looks like he could be related to Isaac, but he’s also an extremely talented actor who I have enjoyed ever since I first saw him in Dark City. And he already has chemistry from that movie with my pick for Namor’s mom…
Princess Fen – Jennifer Connelly
Connelly is still one of the best things out Ang Lee’s Hulk, and her recasting in The Incredible Hulk film was the worst replacement in the history of cinema. I’ve cast her several times and have no qualms about calling her one of the most beautiful women in the world and one of the most talented actresses in movie history. She is in her mid 40s, but looks in her early 30s and has played roles that required her to be in her 60s. With this character’s need to start young and age as the first film progresses I think she’s the perfect choice.
Prince Byrrah – Tim Roth
He would definitely need to have make-up to make him look younger for the first film, but with visual effects this could be taken care of quite easily. There may be some issue for some folks since he played Abomination in the Incredible Hulk film, but that was long enough ago that it doesn’t matter. Roth is a brilliant actor, and if you aren’t aware of this go watch Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and then Reservoir Dogs. Also don’t forget he was the only good thing about the horrible Planet of the Apes remake (well, Paul Giamatti wasn’t bad either). Like Gary Oldman he can play anything, even though he’s actually older than the man I have cast to play his father.
Emperor Tha-Kor – Sean Bean
So this probably gives away the plot…
Vashti – Gary Oldman
You know by now I think he can play anything, so do you really have to ask? As well as he plays villains, playing the support role for the hero is something he does exceedingly well too. Just watch Robocop or Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Lady Dorma – Natalie Dormer
Natalie Dormer is not only gorgeous but also an incredible actress. For any female royalty roles I automatically pick her, which may be a bit of type-casting, but she does so well.
General Krang – Michael Biehn
If you don’t know who Michael Biehn is you have missed out on watching some of the greatest films the ‘80s created. Seriously, look him up on IMDB and go watch his movies. This role is more a tribute for him because he’s kind of disappeared into B-rated, straight-to-video films, and that makes me sad. All the first R-rated movies (The Terminator and Aliens) I watched had him in them, so he holds a cherished spot in my childhood.
Walter Newell/Stingray – Jonathan Tucker
While he hasn’t done too many roles to make him stand out in the public eye, he did do a short stint on one of the best shows currently on TV: Hannibal. He played a sociopathic killer in that role, which is far removed from this character. But I have seen him in other films play extreme opposites of his role in Hannibal and in each one he’s convincing. I’m not sure he’ll become a household name, but he deserves a shot at something bigger.
Diane Arliss – Rachel McAdams
This could be considered a throw-away role that any female actress could play, so the trick is to find someone who boosts this role beyond being Walter Newell’s love interest or Todd Arliss’s sister. This could too quickly become just a crying woman in a victim role, but while that’s kind of what she played in The Notebook, I think her character’s personality in Sherlock Holmes fits more for this role.
Todd Arliss/Tigershark – James Franco
He needs another shot in a comic book franchise. He really was a great villain in the Spider-Man films, but his role was washed out by two additional villains (one poorly cast and the other flat and boring). He deserves another shot in the comic book film realm, and I think this is a role he could skin his teeth into (bad pun intended).
Dr. Dorcas – Michael Keaton
Keaton is quite possibly one of the most underrated actors in all of Hollywood. To go from Mr Mom to Batman and make both characters 100% believable and both movies (arguably) classics takes an impressive amount of skill. While I enjoy him most often in comedic roles, the recent Robocop reboot proves that he knows how to make an impressive and fearful villain.
Attuma – Dominic Purcell
Although he isn’t an actor who is going to be winning any awards, he isn’t bad at all, and is a large man who can fit the large shoes of Attuma. He also has a history of playing Marvel villains as he was Dracula in Blade Trinity.
Llyra – Natalie Dormer
“Wait,” you may say, “You already cast her!” Well, this is how you get use out of an extended contract, folks!
Andromeda- Gina Torres
While she has taken a route more towards dramatic roles, Gina Torres is known and loved by most for her tough-as-nails cowgirl/ex-soldier character on Firefly. While the characters of Zoë and Amdromeda may differ to an extent, I have no doubt she could easily slip into that character’s skin.
The Wind Talker(Older Navajo Guy) – Lou Diamond Phillips
I’ve never liked anything this actor has done until I watched Longmire. I think that shows that he’s not only continued to improve his acting talent, but also has found his niche as the older, wise Indian friend.
Orka – Henry Rollins
This wouldn’t be much of a speaking role, but giving it to Henry Rollins means it should become one. He’s a tough, pumped, and scary looking guy, but incredibly articulate, which is part of the fun in this role since he’ll be playing a tough, pumped, and scary looking guy who has an incredibly low IQ.
Piranha – Michael Pitt
Another actor from Hannibal, Michael Pitt has performed many roles in his career, but he plays villains exceedingly well.
Wow! What an epic saga! We hope you’re all ready to go pick up your tickets! IMPERIUS REX!