Marvel’s Namor Didn’t Know How to Swim

Tenoch Huerta revealed that he did not know how to swim when he was cast as Marvel's Namor.

By Ross Tyson | Published

Everyone knows actors must prepare for roles, but most actors don’t have to learn an entirely new skill for it. Unless they’re Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Tenoch Huerta, who was quoted at a recent press tour by Murphy’s Multiverse “Yeah, well I didn’t know how to swim before this movie. But now I can hold my breath for five minutes.” Certainly not an easy feat for most humans, but for Huerta’s character Namor, just another day.

The Marvel actor, who is playing Namor, king of the Talocan people in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was speaking at a press tour along with costars when asked who could hold their breath the longest. Talocan, being the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Atlantis from the original comics, required some scenes to be shot entirely underwater in order to preserve authenticity for the characters. Despite his own swimming ability, the actor dove headfirst into learning about how to best portray the natural-born swimmer that was Marvel’s Namor.

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Despite being the king of Talocan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Namor’s actor wasn’t the record holder for the longest time holding their breath on set. Mabel Cadena, the actress that plays Namora in the film, was said by Huerta to have held her breath for almost eight minutes during some scenes. That would certainly make for an interesting long take. The actors would repeatedly submerge themselves, training to last even longer under the water for the intense, Talocan-set scenes.

Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be Namor’s intro to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the character emerging as the primary threat to Wakanda, currently struck by the loss of T’Challa (The late Chadwick Boseman). The film will explore the war between the Wakandans and Talocans, while also answering who will be taking the moniker of Black Panther in the current universe. 

The film will also introduce new characters to the ever-expanding Marvel universe in addition to Namor and Namora. Riri Williams will make her debut, played by Dominique Thorne (If Beale Street Could Talk). Riri is also known by the comic moniker Iron Heart, an MIT student who takes inspiration from Iron Man to build her own power suit.

Despite his massive part in the comics, Huerta is tight-lipped as to what Marvel has in store next for Namor. The character is typically straddling the line between hero and villain, and is usually a part of the universe’s “Illuminati”, though a bit different than the previous Illuminati seen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will also see the return of actors from previous installments, including Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke, as well as Marvel mainstays Danai Gurira and Florence Kasumba, whose characters last appeared in Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+. Marvel’s addition of Namor is certain to only strengthen this ensemble. 

Though Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be a solemn affair for many fans, it’s been praised by actors and industry insiders as a faithful and touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman, as well as a fantastic jumping-off point for new characters to join Marvel’s widening roster of great heroes and villains, or all of the above in Namor’s case.