Scandal Surrounding Tenoch Huerta Push Marvel Bosses to Recast Namor
Just as the release of Netflix’s documentary “Johnny Depp x Amber Heard” ensures that the #metoo and #timesup movements remain fresh in the minds of streamers and cinephiles, Hollywood giant Marvel Studios is facing up to its own reckoning following allegations of sexual assault made against leading actor Tencoch Huerta who played Namor the Sub-Mariner in the franchise’s Black Panther sequel.
This represents a quandary for Marvel and its parent company Disney, especially given how clearly the Depp vs. Heard trial highlighted the complexities of these kinds of issues when they play out in the court of public opinion.
While Huerta’s guilt or innocence remains unknown, fans will be looking to the studio to take a clear stance in light of the allegations, which were recently made by musician and activist Elena Ríos.
While Huerta’s casting as the Sub-Mariner was well received by fans thanks to the star’s anti-racism activism, the question remains how negatively received both in the press and at the box office a decision to retain the actor in the role of Namor could be for the studio especially after several women civil rights movements called to boycott Tencoch Huerta’s movies.
Marvel may be keen to avoid the heat that has clung to rival franchise DC following its decision not to completely axe Amber Heard from the cast of Aquaman 2. Instead, they may choose to distance themselves just as Disney did when they dropped Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
If Huerta’s Out, Who Could Play the Sub-Mariner Next?
Following news that the full distribution rights for the character of King Namor, a.k.a. The Sub-Mariner, recently returned to Marvel allowing them to pursue a storyline centering on the Atlantean ruler, this could be an opportune moment to recast the character and take him back to his roots.
While Namor was portrayed as a South American sub-aquatic King in the Black Panther series, in the original comic books, he was instead the ruler of Atlantis, a fabled lost kingdom that many believe was likely located in the Mediterranean.
This aligns with the aesthetic seen in Bill Everett’s earliest Sub-Mariner visions back in the 1930s and 40s, and makes casting an actor like Italian-American Hollywood hunk Enzo Zelocchi a great option. His star-quality screen presence is likely to make die-hard Sub-Mariner fans happy while also attracting audiences from several demographics, facilitating even greater domestic and international distribution.
With a strong physique and the kind of angular features that would do Sub-Mariner proud, Zelocchi showcases just the kind of enigmatic presence and acting prowess required to lead a new evolution in the MCU Namor story. However, for now, at least, fans rooting for the actor will just have to wait for Marvel’s next move.