It’s not every day that a company will give credit to a rival for paving the way for them to create something significant in their field. That’s exactly what director Ryan Coogler did recently when he recognized the DC Comics character Aquaman and his film presence for providing a path for his underwater antihero Namor (Tenoch Huerta) to exist in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“I do think that having Aquaman out in the world, in film language, and being successful in the marketplace, I think it was a great bit of indirect guidance for us to lean into the things that made Namor different from Aquaman,” Coogler told Uproxx.
He also went on to say it was the respect that he held for the people who loved Aquaman that kept him aware of this other comic giant even though Namor as a character has been around longer than Aquaman.
“It was our task to, obviously, put our heads down and blinders on and make our movie, but also have a sense of awareness of what the marketplace might want to respond to, and might be interested in. I think giving people something different, if you can give somebody something good, that’s also unique, I think it’s always better.”
Coolger added that while Aquaman may have helped show Marvel that a character based underwater could be successful, they ultimately “wanted to lean into the things that make those two characters different from each other because they have a lot of other similarities in publishing.” Coolger wanted Namor to stand on his own.
Maybe this newfound respect between Marvel and DC is something that will stick around for a while. This past weekend, Dwayne Johnson tweeted a congratulatory message to the Wakanda Forever team for dethroning his superhero movie Black Adam from the top of the box office during its debut at theaters.