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Why Namor’s Talokanils Aren’t Blue Underwater

While Namor is the exception to the rule in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the majority of Talokanils only have blue skin on the surface world. A new nation introduced to the MCU to rival Wakanda and its stores of vibranium, the underwater kingdom of Talokan is revealed to be a major global power as their ruler, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), leads them to war. However, the biology and impermanent blue skin of the Talokanils is only explained in passing.

As revealed by Namor in Wakanda Forever, an ancient Mesoamerican tribe discovered a glowing blue plant beneath the waves sourced by a second vibranium meteorite that fell into the ocean. Similar to the heart-shaped herb that grants Black Panthers their power, the tribe ingested the herb which granted them increased strength and agility. However, a side-effect of the herb required them to make their nation of Talokan in the ocean, and it seems likely that the shift from more natural skin tones to blue when out of the water comes from a lack of oxygen absorption through the skin when Namor’s people come to the surface. When submerged, the Taloanils are able to pull oxygen from the water rather than the air which restores their more natural skin tones. However, Namor himself has a more unique genetic makeup in comparison. Here’s how Talokanils compare to their ruler as well as the Atlanteans they’re based on from the comics.

When Talokan’s ancestral tribe ingested the glowing blue plant, Namor was still in the womb when his mother Fen also partook with her people. Combined with his unique genes, Namor became the MCU’s first mutant just as he is in the original comics. Beyond his pointed ears and wings on his ankles, it’s confirmed that Namor can also take in oxygen from both the air and sea, hence the reason his skin doesn’t turn blue on the surface like the rest of his kingdom. He doesn’t require a water-breathing mask either like the rest of his forces when attacking above the waves.

While the Atlanteans of the comics also have blue skin, the color never changes. As such, the MCU’s choice to have their appearance change when in their home environment adds a dynamic new layer for the people of Talokan than in the Marvel comics. In contrast, the Atlanteans’ ability to breathe underwater is more focused on the presence of twin gills located on either side of their necks. However, both races similarly require water-breathing masks to join their king against the surface world.

That being said, one of the biggest deviations between the Atlanteans and Talokanils is that the first Atlanteans came from the planet Vodan rather than simply being a human tribe transformed by vibranium. In any case, the changes made to Namor’s people for the MCU are most welcome beyond the unique Mesoamerican origin compared to a version of Atlantis (which has been seen before). Talokanils are very distinct while still having their origins based in the comics, giving them a balanced and more organic debut in the MCU thanks to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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