Is Marvel’s Atlantean Prince the top-secret project from Universal Pictures?
Several days ago, Universal Studios revealed that they had laid claim to a November 4 2016 release date for a yet-unrevealed “tentpole” blockbuster co-financed with production company Legendary Pictures (recently decoupled from its exclusivity with Warner Bros.) Ever the bugbear of secret-keeping major studios, gossip site Latino Review is reporting that some industry insiders believe that the project could well be Namor: The Sub-Mariner, the lone Marvel Comics character whose screen rights Universal still owns.
The half-human ruler of an undersea race who can breathe underwater and fly (thanks to tiny wings on his ankles), Namor debuted back before WWII as a villainous character who attacked mankind for crimes against the sea and scrapped with the original Human Torch – though he was converted into the publisher’s first “antihero” during the war so he and Torch could both fight The Nazis. The character was later resurrected in a 1960s Fantastic Four story, which established him as a morally-ambiguous schemer and a romantic rival for Sue Storm’s affections.
Namor’s actual “ownership” in terms of a hypothetical movie have long been the subject of dispute: Because he derives (some of) his unique powers from the circumstances of his birth, he’s often marked as Marvel’s “original mutant,” and Fox is supposed to own movie rights to all mutants (and also the tertiary cast of Fantastic Four, which he’s often considered a part of.) However, as his original publication predates all of those, Marvel itself could have the primary claim. All of that is moot, though, if Universal does indeed still hold the rights which, according to Marvel president Kevin Feige, they do – a fact which came as a surprise to many fans and industry pros.
At this time, Universal has issued a “no comment” on the rumor.
Source: Latino Review