Terminator 2 Influenced Black Panther Wakanda Forever, Ryan Coogler Says

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler says he found inspiration for the film’s antagonist, Namor the Sub-Mariner, in the 1991 classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The new film finds the aquatic Namor — played by Tenoch Huerta — declaring war on Wakanda as the nation mourns its king, T’Challa (the late Chadwick Boseman). Namor continues a tradition of strong Black Panther antagonists — in 2018’s Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan played Killmonger, whose plans for Wakanda were routed both in a family feud and deep-seated political beliefs.

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“Actually, for me, I don’t see them as villains,” Coogler told Collider in a recent interview, adding that instead, he sees Namor and Killmonger as antagonists.

“Terminator 2 is a big inspiration for this movie,” he added. “Big time. And you think about what T-1000 wants, and what Arnold Schwarzenegger’s robot wants. They both want John Connor, but T-1000 wants to kill him, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character wants to protect him. That’s the movie. And I look at it like that and also try to spend time with them. Not too much, you know what I’m saying? But enough that you understand where they’re coming from and that you believe them when they make threats.”

Similarly, Namor isn’t evil for evil’s sake — he’s fighting for his people. In the comics, Namor rules the city of Atlantis, but in Wakanda Forever, it’s been replaced with the Aztec city of Talocan. Huerta praised the change on the film’s recent press tour.

“When Ryan and all the team decided to give Namor this background, it was a fantastic move and I think now is the perfect moment to speak about it,” he said, per Digital Spy. “In Latin America, especially Mexico, we deny our indigenous roots. It’s just like a token sometimes, but in general terms, we deny it because it’s not about genes for us, because almost everybody in Mexico has indigenous or African roots – it’s about culture.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, directed by Ryan Coogler, arrives in theaters Friday, November 11.

Main image: Tenoch Huerta as Namor, the Sub-Mariner.