Now that Disney has regained screen rights to Marvel superheroes "X-Men", "Fantastic Four", "Wolverine" and "Deadpool" from 21st Century Fox, next on the list is recovering rights to Marvel Comics' "Namor: The Sub-Mariner" from Universal, paving the way for a big budget undersea adventure that could make DC's "Aquaman" look like 'Charlie The Tuna':
Plans fell through for a live action "Namor" TV series in the 1950's, starring Richard Egan, plus there was interest in a 1970's TV pilot that was scrubbed because of a similarity to the NBC series "Man from Atlantis" (1977), starring Patrick Duffy, that Marvel Comics licensed for publishing.
To date, Universal still controls screen rights to the "Hulk" and will only allow Marvel Studios to feature the character as part of an ensemble, rather than as the main character in a stand-alone film.
"I can't speak for the studios," said Marvel's Joe Quesada about Disney recovering screen rights to Namor from Universal.
"But as far as I know, yeah we do (have screen rights). It’s not at Fox, it’s not at Sony...Yeah."
"Yes," confirmed Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige about Marvel controlling screen rights to Namor.
"But it’s slightly more complicated than that."
"Let’s put it this way – there are entanglements that make it less easy.
"There are older contracts that still involve other parties that means 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..."
Debuting in 1939, predating DC's "Aquaman" (1941), Namor was created by writer, illustrator Bill Everett, depicted as the mutant son of a human sea captain and a seductive princess on a spy mission for her undersea kingdom of 'Atlantis'.
Namor possessed the super-strength and aquatic breathing abilities of his mother's 'Homo Mermanus' race, as well as tiny flipper-like wings on his ankles that enabled him to fly.
After fighting WWII with the Allies alongside 'Captain America' and the 'Human Torch', Namor resurfaced in the 1950's as the subject of a live-action TV series.
Recovering his memory, Namor returned to his undersea kingdom, only to find it destroyed from underwater nuclear testing.
He then vowed revenge against the surface dwellers as a thirst for revenge and a quest for identity would dominate his life. ...