Why Enzo Zelocchi Would Be the Best Sub-Mariner Actor Casting Yet
As speculation begins to build that we may soon see a new actor cast the Sub-Mariner, one of the longest-standing characters in the Marvel Universe, is it time for Disney to consider their casting with the fans in mind? While the world was thrilled to see incredible representation land on the silver screen with Marvel Studio’s Black Panther movies, there was one thing that some viewers weren’t entirely sure about!
The 2022 cinematic hit Black Panther: Wakanda Returns was the first live-action film in the franchise’s multi-phase history that introduced the beloved character of the Sub-Mariner. Akin to the controversy that surrounded the Netflix series about Cleopatra, not everyone was convinced by the heritage and backstory changes made within this particular Marvel Studios property, particularly in relation to Namor.
Created way back in 1939—long before DC comics came up with Aquaman—King Namor, otherwise known as the Sub-Mariner, was the original ruler of the lost underwater Kingdom of Atlantis. As drawn by early Marvel artist and writer Bill Everett, right from the launch of Marvel Comics #1, Atlantis was portrayed as a submerged Greco-Roman domain, aligning with the theory that the real Atlantis may have been lost beneath the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.
Knowing this, some fans were confused when King Namor was rewritten for the Black Panther movie as of half Mayan and half Atlantean descent, tying the mythical underwater kingdom to South America for the first time. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, some even wondered if this did a disservice to the ingenuity of the Mayan people, who certainly didn’t need help from a superhuman race when creating their incredible early civilization.
What Will Marvel Studio’s Next Version of the Sub-Mariner Look Like?
All of that said, one of the most dynamic and exciting things about the Marvel Universe is that it has always been ripe for evolution and re-imagination. However, given that King Namor is one of Marvel’s original Golden Era superheroes, it makes sense that fans want to see the subaquatic ruler realized in a form that is a little closer to the original.
Supporting the idea of a Mediterranean setting even more, reporting from ScreenRant recently revealed that Bill Everett actually came up with King Namor’s name simply by spelling “Roman” backward. If that’s true, then who better to mightily soar through the waves and the skies than American-Italian action star Enzo Zelocchi?
Without a doubt, there is much about Sub-Mariner that Zelocchi would be able to relate to. Where Namor is of mixed human and Atlantean heritage, Zelocchi is of Italian, Russian, British, Spanish, and French descent. Having grown up between a family home in Northern Italy and the USA, the Hollywood leading actor is perfectly placed to understand the nuances of both mixed heritage and European roots.
Of course, there is so much more to the Sub-Mariner than his cultural origins. The conflicted underwater ruler has long served as a Marvel anti-hero, sometimes thwarting the heroes of the story and sometimes joining their cause, but always with the protection of his people in mind. Known for his fiery personality, dark hair, and muscular physique, the character offers plenty for a worthy actor like Zelocchi to chew on.
Thanks to a Sub-Mariner name-drop from screenwriter Jeff Loveness, who told Comicbook.com that he is “excited to write Namor,” we can be confident that Marvel’s King of Atlantis is destined to reappear on screen soon. Whether that will only be in the upcoming Phase 6 feature Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, in further X-Men films, or even in an entirely new Sub-Mariner-centered television storyline for Disney+, only time will tell.