Word JUST emerged that Marvel Studios had the movie rights to the character Namor the Sub-Mariner, and not wasting any time, actor Brian Tee has thrown his name into the ring to play the very first Marvel Super Hero. Tee can currently be seen on the big screen in another comic book adaptation, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ as Shredder.
While promoting this film, Tee spoke about an issue that has been a hot topic lately– acting opportunities for Asian actors.
“Very few and far between, Asian-Americans and people of color are given these opportunities to be leads in films. I would love to see more of that. The time has come for us to allow those situations to happen.”
“This is what: Just saying, Marvel Studios just picked up the rights to Namor, who is the Sub-Mariner, and I would love to play the Sub-Mariner. I grew up as a comic geek and the Sub-Mariner is one of my childhood’s fondest superheroes. I feel like I can play him! If there is one role, right now, that I would love to play, it would be Namor.”
For their DC Universe movies, Warner Brothers cast Polynesian actor Jason Momoa as Aquaman, a character who, in the comics, is drawn as blond, blue-eyed and very Caucasian. But Namor has actually always been depicted as more exotic, with dark features and sharply arched eyebrows. He has even at times appeared almost alien, with an oblong head that flattens on top.
It actually makes better sense for Marvel to pursue a non-Caucasian actor for this role than it was for WB when casting Aquaman.
Also, let’s not forget that the normally Teflon-coated Marvel Studios has taken heat for casting Caucasian actor Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in ‘Doctor Strange’. In the comics, The Ancient One is a stereotypical wise Asian mystic with a long Fu-Manchu beard (not to mention yellowish skin in early issues). Critics have accused Marvel of whitewashing the role. Seeking an Asian actor to portray Namor could be a good step for them in appeasing those critics.
Tee previously appeared in another comic book movie, ‘The Wolverine’ as villain Noburo. He also had a role on an episode of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Other than that, his biggest claim to fame is playing Dr. Ethan Choi on NBC’s ‘Chicago Med’ and connected shows ‘Chicago Fire’ and ‘Chicago PD’. (So he already has experience with a shared universe!)
Just to be clear, Marvel has NOT announced any plans to include Namor in one of their movies, much less give him his own. But who knows what the future may hold? The Sub-Mariner was recently killed off in the comics, but… you know that’s never permanent. And Namor has been around for longer than Captain America, so he holds an important place in Marvel history.
Would you like to see Namor the Sub-Mariner in a Marvel movie? If so, do you think Brian Tee would make a good casting choice?
You can catch Brian Tee as Shredder in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ now playing in theaters.