The world finally returns to Wakanda thanks to Black Panther: Wakana Forever, which follows Chris Hemsworth’s Thor: Love and Thunder. The highly anticipated project has gone through a number of changes since it was first conceived, but one thing has almost certainly remained the same: Atlantis.
While Marvel Studios hasn’t announced anything, there are rumors that the main villain will be Namor, the ruler of the legendary underwater city. Fans have always voted for the character to be the next villain in the franchise, so it wasn’t surprising when the rumors started.
Tenoch Huerta seems to be the leading candidate for the role of the infamous antihero. The Forever Purge and Narcos: Mexico are two recent projects in which the actor has appeared. In a new interview, the actor talked about some of the challenges he’s had recently, as well as a unique fact: he got to know Mayan for a future role.
Defending against racism and mastering a new language
In an interview, actor Tenoch Huerta confirmed that he learned the Mayan language for the role and spent months in Atlanta, GA filming the project in which he will use the knowledge. The role in question belongs to the MCU’s Namor, an antihero who will appear as the main villain in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The actor could not confirm the details of the project in question, something Marvel Studios itself has also kept silent about.
As important as joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, it hasn’t been an easy journey. The actor revealed that while Hollywood’s adoption of diversity may seem slow, those same discussions are just getting started in Mexico — assuming they happen at all. Actor Tenoch Huerta said in an interview that he has studied the Mayan language for the character and spent months filming the production in Atlanta, GA, where he will use the expertise.
Namor, an antihero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe who will appear as the main adversary in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is the character in question. The actor could not confirm the details of the film in question and Marvel Studios is also silent on the subject.
It wasn’t an easy road to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no matter how big it is. While Hollywood’s endorsement of diversity seems to be gradual, the actor claimed similar conversations have only recently begun in Mexico — if at all.
Huerta claims he “had to remove” [his] language identity to blend in” to get to where it is today. “I had to erase my linguistic identity to fit into the new world I (live) now…If they don’t see you as part of them, they won’t accept you.” Of course, another important industry problem, sometimes associated with racism, is the practice of categorizing only specific ethnicities as stereotypes.
Despite this, Huerta stated that he “always creates a new version” of his character, even if the stereotype is the same. They need thieves, they need kidnappers. So they call the brown-skinned people to make them. And we fit under that stereotype… they always call me to make the same character. It’s the bad guy – always. But I always make another version. Because to me it’s a person. I create a new personality, a new character every time.”
“I was lucky, because right now [he] was ready [for acting]”The world was ready for Latin American actors,” the actor said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’m done now.’ Finally I’m ready it was lucky because at the same time I was ready the world was ready for Latin American actors… especially for actors like me Because most of the Mexican actors who are in the US are white , they are upper class, they are fresas [Mexican slang for classy]†
Diego Luna in Star Wars: Rogue One has been one of the most notable Latino casts of late. Not only did the actor keep his dialect, but Cassian Andor was Mexican for no other reason than he was. According to a 2019 study from the College of Mexico, class has a significant impact on people’s views on race. If the people being studied are considered well-educated, even subsequent observers will perceive them as whiter. “Social inequalities and racism are so intertwined that it’s difficult to determine which one predominates,” noted Alice Kroger, a socioeconomic inequality researcher at the College of Mexico.
Kroger also explained how the belief that all Mexicans are one giant race with mixed Hispanic and Indigenous ancestry has influenced the country, emphasizing racial mixing and diversity. While their intentions may be sincere, many people believe they are dishonest “because it has also contributed to a blindness to the existence of racism.” Huerta has even founded a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting prejudice. As he continues to make his mark in Hollywood, the actor is committed to raising awareness of the issue.
Persistence of a new MCU villain
It’s fantastic to see the man who could play Namor put so much work into the part. It shows his dedication to the role and desire to make it as real as possible.
There are many theories that the MCU’s rendition of Atlantis will have more Mayan roots than the comics. This ties in nicely with Huerta’s acquisition of the previously described language.
When it comes to the racism Huerta faces in Mexico, it’s always heartbreaking to be reminded of how pervasive the destructive worldview is. Many people think that the US is the only country facing these problems, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ultimately, Huerta’s rumored role as Namor will allow him to break down any barriers he encounters in his profession, as well as put him in a better position to make his words heard. After all, Huerta will most certainly have a long career in the MCU and will undoubtedly become known all over the world.