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TWD Star Reportedly Being Eyed To Play The MCU's Namor

Could a fan-favorite star of The Walking Dead be getting called up to the big leagues of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Rumor-slinging website We Got This Covered is reporting that their sources have learned that Steven Yeun, who played the late, beloved Glenn Rhee on the AMC zombie apocalypse series, is being considered to take on the role of Namor, the Sub-Mariner, in the MCU. 

Now, this rumor should be taken with a grain of salt, but we still feel the need to point out how awesome it would be if it were true. Yeun instantly endeared himself to viewers on The Walking Dead, making his first appearance (his voice, anyway) at the end of the very first episode to put Rick Grimes in his place. We won't talk about his last appearance, because nobody needs to be reminded of that.

Since that series catapulted him to stardom, he's proven himself to be an extremely versatile actor; he's lent his voice to projects as varied as Voltron: Legendary Defender and Tuca & Bertie, appeared in features such as Boots Riley's insane mindscrew Sorry to Bother You, and popped up in Jordan Peele's Twilight Zone revival as the title character in "A. Traveler," perhaps the best episode of that series' first season.

He's capable of exuding a certain regal authority which would make him a perfect fit for Namor. Many comic fans like to refer to the half human/half Atlantean as Marvel's version of Aquaman, but in reality, it's the other way around; Namor made his debut in the first book ever published by the future House of Ideas, Marvel Comics #1, in October 1939. Aquaman didn't appear until issue #73 of More Fun Comics, published by the company that would eventually become DC, in November 1941.

Namor is something of an anti-hero, especially in his earlier appearances. He's often come into conflict with Black Panther, and has even led Atlantis to war against Wakanda; he's often depicted as being mistrustful of humanity, and as the first Marvel character to be designated a mutant, he's had plenty of dealings with both the X-Men and Magneto, for whom he has a great deal of respect.

Yeun would be an excellent choice for such a complex character, but here comes the disclaimer: with only WGTC's perpetually anonymous sources reporting that he's being eyed for the role, the rumor amounts to little more than fan-casting. The website has a notoriously spotty record when it comes to such "scoops," and the chances that its sources are privy to information which literally no other media outlet has gotten a whiff of are slim to none.

Having said that, now that the rumor is out there, perhaps Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige will be prompted to give Yeun a call. We can think of no other actor whom we'd like to see in the role more — but whoever does eventually land the part will have to understand that the gig will come with a caveat or two.

Will Namor get his own solo movie in the MCU?

This is because Namor is one of the few Marvel characters whose film rights are still a little tricky. Just like the Hulk, the character's rights are partially owned by Universal — but only the distribution rights. What this means practically is that Universal retains the right to distribute any solo movies based on these characters that Marvel Studios might produce; this is the reason why we never got another Hulk solo movie after The Incredible Hulk, which was produced at a time when Marvel wasn't yet owned by Disney, and was still relying on other entities to distribute its films.

These days, of course, Disney handles distribution on all MCU releases, and the House of Mouse isn't going to make an exception just so the Green Goliath can get another solo outing. You'll note, however, that Universal's rights only cover solo movies — which is why Marvel has been able to feature the Hulk in as many team-up films as it likes.

It's the same deal with Namor. Unfortunately, despite being the definition of a legacy character, the Sub-Mariner will never get an MCU solo film unless Universal cashes in and sells its stake in his film rights to Disney; since it hasn't seen fit to do this with the Hulk's rights, it doesn't seem very likely that the studio will relinquish its share of Namor.

As with the Hulk, though, Marvel is free to use the Atlantean as a supporting character — and his history with T'Challa has prompted all kinds of speculation that he could make his debut in the upcoming Black Panther 2, possibly as one of the flick's villains. Of course, it's also worth noting that Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson posted (and then deleted) a picture of Namor on Twitter with the cryptic caption "Are you experienced?" back in March. This raises the possibility that the presumed interdimensional craziness of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could serve as the means by which Namor will be introduced to the MCU — although it's just as likely that Derrickson was simply screwing with us.

At any rate, we should be so lucky as to have an actor of Yeun's caliber take on the role — so with any good fortune, the "Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day" effect will come into play here, and WGTC's report will turn out to be accurate. It's likely to be some time before Marvel transports us to the Kingdom of Atlantis, though, so we're not going to hold our breath.