Namor (Tenoch Huerta) has prompted a great many fans of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" to believe he's in love with the film's de facto protagonist, Shuri (Letitia Wright). What's perhaps more surprising is that those fans would not be completely unaware of the fact that Namor and Shuri once had a deep romantic connection.
If you think about it, Namor not only gifts Shuri with his mother's bracelet — a family heirloom — but encourages her to burn the world with him. Later, when the two encounter on the battlefield, they're equally matched — right up until Shuri's willingness to sacrifice his life?
The answer, apparently, is simple: Time.
Shuri and Namor's chemistry was evident early on in the film.
Michael P. Shawver, the film editor who edited "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," says the film took around four and a half hours to edit. However, Shawver and director Ryan Coogler began to notice that Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Namor (Tenoch Huerta) shared a certain subtext in all of their interactions. Thus, the filmmakers had to consider whether or not to include Shuri and Namor's connection into the film's cocktail of subplot
"There were occasions when there was some overlap there," Shawver told Newsweek. "And at one point in an early cut, we discussed like, 'Hey, do we leave it there?' Or do we just leave it there? Let's just add some complexity to the relationship.'
Shuri tries to balance her grief for her brother, King T'Challa (the late Chadwick Boseman), and her conflicted opinions about her newfound role as queen of Wakanda. Shawver and Coogler decided to exclude any romantic subplots involving Shuri.
Shawver explained to Newsweek that she felt it inappropriate to include a scene in which Shuri flirted with Namor, because it would undermine her character's journey toward becoming a diplomatic leader. Instead, Shawver revealed: "What we ultimately focused on was Namor's phrase where he says "only the most damaged people can be truly great leaders," and that's planting the seeds of the shared trauma that [Shuri] realizes toward the end of the film."
Namor is now more of Shuri's big brother.
Michael P. Shawver, the film's editor, decided that it was appropriate to concentrate on Shuri and Namor's common leadership qualities rather than on their potential romantic connection. He explained that both of the characters have to deal with deep-seated emotional agony while attempting to rule their respective nations.
"[Namor] sort of became a] big brother," Shawver said, "because of the similarities she saw when she saw their world and hearing the story." He added that "what she lost at the beginning began to fill that void, and that felt most genuine to the characters."
Shawver said he and Coogler may sympathize with Shuri-Namor shippers deep down. “They relate,” he said, “and I think that whenever we can relate to someone there can be undertones of that,” according to the author.