Spoiler alert: This article contains major spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The long-awaited sequel to one of the most memorable superhero movies ever has finally hit theaters. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follows the people of the reclusive vibranium kingdom as they deal with the aftermath of King T'Challa's untimely death. The film is dedicated to original Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in 2020.
As Wakanda faces off against other nations vying for their resources, they encounter the underwater kingdom of Talokan, led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía). Unlike the rest of his subjects who have blue skin and can only breathe underwater, Namor has a human-skin tone and can fly as well as breathe both under and above water. His status has earned him the title K'uk'ulkan (feathered serpent god), but in Marvel terminology, that makes him a mutant. Does this make him the first mutant in the MCU?
Is Namor the first mutant? There have been a couple in the MCU.
In the original comics, Namor is often referred to as the "first mutant." However, this doesn't refer to him being the first mutant within the overall lore. Plenty of mutants predate Namor's birth, including Apocalypse and even Wolverine.
Rather, he is considered Marvel's first mutant by virtue of publication. Namor is one of the first comic book heroes ever to be published by Marvel Comics, having been introduced in 1939.
Originally, he is the son of a human sea captain and the sea-dwelling princess of an underwater kingdom. The circumstances of his birth and his unusual physiology between both of his parents have technically earned him the title of "mutant," although he wasn't referred to as one until several decades after his first appearance.
That being said, he is still considered to be the first chronological mutant by publication standards.
In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, he retains his status as a mutant. He even directly calls himself one when explaining his origins to a captive Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright). He was born in the 16th century and aged far slower than humans, which technically makes him the earliest-known mutant to exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For all intents and purposes, that makes him the first mutant in the MCU's history.
Within the chronology of the MCU, Namor is the first mutant that we know of. However, he is not the first mutant we meet. In the Ms. Marvel Disney Plus series, it is revealed that Kamala Khan's (Iman Vellani) compatibility with a cosmic bangle is the result of a "mutation." While we now know she isn't the first mutant to exist, she is the first mutant we meet in the MCU, barring any multiverse shenanigans.
Aside from continuing to make strides of representation in films and being an emotional love letter to a Marvel Studios icon, the new Black Panther film cracks open the MCU by revealing that mutants have existed for at least centuries.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters.