With the Marvel Cinematic Universe as popular than ever with movies like Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Avengers, Marvel Studios will soon have to expand. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy is just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of how deep the comic book movie studio can go with its vast array of characters and storylines. A Doctor Strange movie was just green lighted, which would introduce audiences to the mystical side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and an Ant-Man movie is set to kick off Phase Three in 2015. While Marvel Studios is going strong, they can't rest on Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America forever. The studio has to branch off and making a movie based on Namor the Sub-Mariner might be in its future.
Now I'm not going to claim that I'm a hardcore Namor the Sub-Mariner fan, but the idea of opening up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the ocean floor does intrigue me. It was virtually impossible for Marvel to make a movie based on the Prince of Atlantis because his rights belonged to Universal Pictures. However, after years of inactivity, the film rights are a bit murky, but it seems like Marvel partially owns them.
In an interview with IGN, Marvel super producer Kevin Feige recently talked about Namor the Sub-Mariner and whether or not the comic book movie studio could ever make a movie. Feige explained:
"There are entanglements that make it less easy. There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it. As opposed to an Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in."
In 2006, Universal Pictures announced that Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) would direct a Namor the Sub-Mariner feature film. It would be a co-production with Universal and Marvel, but nothing ever came of the project. Marvel built their own movie studio and announced Iron Man would be the first movie under its new flag, as Namor the Sub-Mariner was forgotten.
Now that Marvel is at the height of superhero entertainment, could the studio make a Namor the Sub-Mariner film into a successful new franchise? Well, if Guardians of the Galaxy is a box office success, I'm convinced that Marvel could just about sell anything to anyone. A lot is resting on the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, so we'll have to wait and see. Doctor Strange is as weird as it comes with Marvel characters and Ant-Man has been in development since 2006. Once Black Panther is in the mix, I can totally see Marvel introduce another prince to their cinematic universe. If that's the case, we'd have to wait until Phase Four or Five to hear any movement on the new property.
Universal and Legendary have no plans to make a feature film based on the Prince of Atlantis, but if Aquaman, rumored to be played by Jason Mamoa, appears in Warner Bros. and DC's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, then look for something to be in the works, if audiences accept the underwater superhero. It would be strange for DC to have the upperhand on Marvel, but it could happen if Warner Bros. plans a spinoff movie featuring Aquaman as its lead. If it's too late, Marvel would look like the copycats and not DC.
I think it would be great to open up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the ocean. With James Cameron's technology in making movies like The Abyss and Avatar, I could easily see a very believable movie taking place underwater. If Guardians of the Galaxy opens the Marvel Cinematic Universe to outer space, then Namor the Sub-Mariner would open it to the depths of the ocean. Either way, Marvel Studios is growing and it has plenty of options for future movie franchises.