Why did Namor say 'Imperius Rex' in Black Panther 2? Explained

Namor in Black Panther 2 (Image via Marvel)
Namor in Black Panther 2 (Image via Marvel)

Black Panther 2 introduced Namor, the King of Talokan, and the anti-hero mutant Marvel fans are all too familiar with. The Sub-Mariner also represents another cultural force in the MCU. The Mesoamerican origins of the character, and the reference to Kukulkan, expanded the world-building surrounding Wakanda significantly.

The film had a great opening weekend, though some fans didn't like that Marvel Studios didn't recast T'Challa. Black Panther 2 instead incorporated the demise of Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa while ensuring that the legacy of the deeply memorable actor continues within the MCU.

Tenoch Huerta's Namor also brings his Marvel comics catchphrase to the big screen: "Imperius Rex." The Sub-Mariner says Imperius Rex in Black Panther 2, but what does that even mean? Let's find out.


Black Panther 2: Meaning, origins, and more about "Imperius Rex" explored

When does Namor say Imperius Rex?

Namor leading the Talokan forces in Black Panther 2 (Image via Marvel)
Namor leading the Talokan forces in Black Panther 2 (Image via Marvel)

Namor used the phrase during the war between Wakandan and Talokan forces. While Shuri gives out the battle cry "Wakanda Forever!", Namor shouts "Imperius Rex!" as the film reaches into its third act before introducing the viewers to the phrase.

Not only does the movie set a deeper lore for the character, but it provides a catchphrase that is every bit as compelling as the iconic "Wakanda Forever." It also refers to Namor's comic origins. With such a compelling level of depth, the anti-hero will likely stay within the MCU for some time.


What does Imperius Rex mean?

Namor in Black Panther 2 (Image via Marvel)
Namor in Black Panther 2 (Image via Marvel)

"Imperius Rex" is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to "Empire King." It provides a contrast between the armies of both Wakanda and Talokan. While the Wakandan forces are fighting for the sake of their kingdoms, the Talokan army is simply putting their lives on the line for their king.

Namor was created by Marvel Comics writer Bill Everett, who reversed "Roman" to spell out the anti-hero's name. There's a simpler explanation in Marvel comics 2018's Thor #1 when Thor, while in a fight with Namor, asks him what "Imperius Rex" means.

"It means I'm going to feed your sorry Asgardian hide to the biggest sharks I can find!"

That might give you a clue into realizing that the phrase is probably not as well thought out as you'd think. However, the reference does impress upon the fact that more from Namor's origins will make it into the MCU.

Namor in 2018's Thor #1 (Image via Marvel)
Namor in 2018's Thor #1 (Image via Marvel)

Namor is here to stay

Namor's catchphrase makes less sense since we're given insight into his Mesoamerican origins in the MCU rather than his original Greco-Roman origins. That could have changed things, but Black Panther 2 writers kept it that way to incorporate as much of the character from the comics as they could.

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

The anti-hero is likely to stay as he is a major character in several Marvel comic storylines. With his incredible showcasing, the "Imperius Rex" catchphrase will likely get its own origins that are rooted in the MCU Namor's culture and history.


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Edited by Shreya Das
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