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The MCU Rumor That Could Completely Change Black Panther

Ever since Samuel L. Jackson got all monocular after the credits for "Iron Man" rolled in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a star-studded Rube Goldberg factory that sucks up fan theories and spits out rumors. No potential storyline has proved too preposterous to the eyes of ravenous MCU fans or the message board denizens that keep spinning possible narrative threads. Maybe Groot gets Dutch elm disease in "Guardians of the Galaxy 3." Maybe "Black Widow" would introduce mutants to the movie universe. Maybe "Loki" would. Maybe Kevin Feige would keep metaphorically holding out his clenched fists and telling fans to pick the one with mutants in it forever, gleefully neglecting to let them know that there was no right answer or that he just likes toying with people's emotions at this point.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has a long road to hoe from the get-go, explaining the absence of Chadwick Boseman's King T'Challa and the future of the Black Panther legacy. And according to one particular rumor, the highly anticipated sequel will be a real game-changer in another regard as well. Fair warning: It involves mutants. Damp ones. Sort of.

Could Black Panther 2 feature a wild throwback to the 1940s?

The rumor comes courtesy of fan site Murphy's Multiverse. According to their sources, Mabel Cadena has joined "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" in an unexpected role, playing Namora of Atlantis.

Even if you're not familiar with Namora, the context clues will more or less get you where you need to go. Back in 1947, Namor the Submariner got a Bulletgirl to his Bulletman; a Mary Marvel to his Billy Batson. Namora, with her suspiciously well put-together hair for a person who kept jumping in and out of the ocean, would go on to become an important part of Marvel's Atlantean mythos. Cousin to Namor, she's a half Atlantean, half human mutant, just like the itty-bitty wing-ankled king himself, and she's gone on to have her story and character fleshed out over a nearly 80-year history, becoming a world-saving hero in her own right and occasional shoulder angel to the historically crabby Namor.

Namora's presence in "Black Panther 2" is still just a rumor, but there's enough evidence to make it a compelling one. Behind-the-scenes photo leaks of the film's set have seen crewmembers working next to enormous water tanks, leading some to speculate that a trip to Atlantis is in the near future. Will Wakanda find itself at odds with the hyper-advanced undersea kingdom? We'll be sure to keep you up to date as the story progresses.