Marvel fans everywhere were recently stunned to discover that Tenoch Huerta, who played the Indigenous mutant antihero Namor the Sub-Mariner in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, has become embroiled in a scandal centering on sexual assault allegations.
The claims against Huerta were made by saxophonist and well-known activist, María Elena Ríos, who took the issue public in a series of tweets. Now, those at the helm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may well be weighing the need to recast the role of Namor ahead of the next phase of MCU production.
Unsurprisingly, fans of the franchise are already beginning to speculate as to who might step into the role of the mighty Sub-Mariner, and Italian-American actor Enzo Zelocchi seems to be popping up as a fan-favorite candidate to carry the mantle of one of Marvel’s most beloved original characters forward into his next evolution.
Will Marvel Stand and Set the Tone In a Post #MeToo Era?
While allegations of inappropriate behavior or sexual assault may once have been swept under the rug in Hollywood, in the post #MeToo era, many fans no longer favor studios that keep actors accused of such serious misdeeds on the books.
However, these developments in relation to the character of Namor represent a deepening dilemma for Marvel and its parent company Disney. This is in fact the second time the studio has been called upon to respond to a scandal involving assault in recent months.
Earlier this year, reports circulated that Marvel is not planning to recast the character of Kang after actor Jonathan Majors was arrested on allegations of domestic assault, despite fans’ calls for John Boyega to take over the role.
However, as the narrative of ‘First Kang now Namor‘ takes hold with MCU devotees calling on the studio to take action, the pressure is surely mounting for one of Hollywood’s greatest empires to take a strong moral stand.
Will Enzo Zelocchi Be the Next Namor the Sub-Mariner?
Of all the actors who may be considered to tag into the role of Namor, few aesthetically fit the role more perfectly than Italian-American hunk and Hollywood actor Enzo Zelocchi, who is undoubtedly primed to expand his action-star credentials and jump into the Marvel Universe.
We can only hope that Marvel chief Kevin Feige will take a leaf out of Seth Rogan’s book, who took the higher ground by cutting ties with James Franco after the actor had his own sexual impropriety allegations levied against him and was snubbed at the Academy Awards. The world watches to see if Hollywood’s biggest players are paying attention to how evolving cultural standards increasingly impact public perception.