Who is Kukulkan in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Explained

Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Image via Marvel)
Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Image via Marvel)

The much-anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally arrived in theaters on November 11, 2022, and introduced viewers to the new Black Panther, Iron Heart, and the Kukulkan i.e. Namor, who are some of the latest additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As M'Baku states in the trailer, Namor isn't called a general or a king by his people, but is instead hailed as the Feathered Serpent God, Kukulkan.

In this article, we discuss why Namor is called so. This is an interesting question because the reference to the serpentine deity is not part of Namor's origin story in the comics.

Disclaimer: This article contains heavy spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.


Namor being called Kukulkan can be traced back to his origins and early life

Who is Kukulkan in mythology?

An artwork of Kukulkan (Image via SMITE)
An artwork of Kukulkan (Image via SMITE)

Kukulkan, a serpent deity, is linked to many Mesoamerican religions. The Yucatec Maya people actively worshiped the deity before the 1500s.

As per the descriptions of the movie as well as the mythology, Kukulkan is a feathered serpentine god, believed to have dominion over rain, storms, wind, and life.

Kukulkan is also linked to the Aztecs and Toltecs' feathered serpent god Quetzalcóatl. Similarly, the Quiché Maya of Guatemala calls the deity Gucumatz, and the Gulf Coast's Huastecs refer to the deity as Ehecatl.


Why is Namor hailed as the feathered serpent deity?

Namor wearing the Quetzalcóatl headpiece (Image via Marvel)
Namor wearing the Quetzalcóatl headpiece (Image via Marvel)

It is important to note that Namor is not a god within the MCU. His being referred to as the feathered serpent god is also a deviation from the comics, so it's likely that the MCU is incorporating more mesoamerican mythology for the culture of Talocan.

His origins and early life have a likely role to play in his Kukulkan title. The Sub-Mariner is different from other Talocan people and has unique physical traits, as he is a mutant. He has wings on his ankles, which allow him to fly. As shown in the film, he can use them quite easily, and they're very maneuverable in combat as well.

Namor's headpiece in the film directly matches that of Quetzalcoatl, which, as we mentioned earlier, is another name for the Mesoamerican deity. The Sub-Mariner is also relatively aged, as he was born in 1571. It seems that his attributes popularized him as Kukulkan, and several Mesoamerican cultures within the MCU took him as an avatar of the deity as well.


There might be a connection between Kukulkan and Bast

Bast from Black Panther (Image via Marvel)
Bast from Black Panther (Image via Marvel)

Wakanda worships the deity Bast the Panther God. We saw in the first Black Panther film that in times of great need or ritual, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) prays to Bast. After drinking a secret herb that grants the powers of the Black Panther, T'Challa goes to the afterlife where all his forefathers reside as black panthers.

We see in Namor's origins that his mother consumed a body-changing plant while she was pregnant. Namor mutated even before he was born. He came to life with superhuman longevity, ankle wings, and adapted lungs.

The Talocan king seems to have a sacred deity of his own as well. Since both Wakanda and Talocan were struck with Vibranium meteorites, and the metal is linked to divine origin, it might not be a stretch to consider that the feathered serpent deity might function similarly to Bast and grant powers to the ruler of Talocan.


Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Image via Marvel)
Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Image via Marvel)

Namor is the second mutant introduced in the main MCU timeline so far. While Kamala Khan became the first mutant in Ms. Marvel, we've also seen Professor X appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With Deadpool 3 coming out in 2024 and officially marking the entrance of both Wolverine and Deadpool into the MCU, we might see more mutants in a couple of years.

The Sub-Mariner is also an anti-hero in the MCU, and it seems that Black Panther is once again the jumping-off point for another likable ruthless character. Despite Shuri and Namor making peace with each other, Namor tells an ally at the end of the film that being alongside Wakanda is going to be great for the kingdom of Talocan. This means that he isn't done, and will be back in future projects.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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