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From Scorpion King To King of Atlantis?
posted 11-5-03

He even has the same little leather vest Namor sometimes wears...and the wings on his feet.

Marvel smells what The Rock is cooking, and it turns out they like pancakes. Or at least, that's what their film division would have him believe. Over the last few days, the internet has buzzed with the rumor that Marvel wants The Rock to play Namor The Sub-Mariner in the planned Universal Studios adaptation of the character.

Well, it's true. In Hollywood, however, the truth doesn't necessarily mean anything. According to those close to the WWE, representatives of Marvel Entertainment approached The Rock last week with a solid offer for the role. Two and a half things stand in its way.

First, timing. Rock has himself a huge plate of acting roles already, to the point that although he plans on appearing at Summer Slam, his involvement in the WWE has to be reduced to ever more infrequent cameos.

In addition to Spy Hunter, he has allegedly signed to appear with John Travolta in the sequel to Get Shorty. Trying to drum up a little action for himself, the veteran wrestler has also been actively pursuing the title role in a live-action version of Cartoon Network's Johnny Bravo. Whether or not he gets that cartoon role, he's booked solid for the next eight months and then some. So quite obviously, there's a big question as to when he could find the time to play the Avenging Scion of Atlantis.

(Never mind the question of whether or not director/screenwriter David Self's version is an avenging scion of Atlantis…)

The big stumbling block to The Rock is that which makes the world go 'round: money. Once again, our anonymous sources claim that whatever slice Marvel offered, The Rock wants a 25% bigger piece. Not that you can blame him. He's busy, and he's heavily in demand. Moreover, we obviously feel here at Fanboy Planet that, yeah, he's got the goods to be a major star.

No truth to the rumor that Hurricane will play Krang.
While there has long been a comic book feel to the WWE, if this deal comes together, it would cement the relationship in fans' minds. Potentially six million wrestling fans picking up copies of Namor? It boggles the mind. It's unlikely, but still boggling. (True, HHH will appear in a Marvel film first, but as a minor villain in Blade: Trinity, and one that is not likely to have a comic book antecedent.)

Vince McMahon probably knows this is a good idea as much as Marvel does. And that's where he makes the half a problem. Vince wants money, too. If a WWE star lands a lead role, McMahon has a stake in it, and an executive producer credit. It says so in The Rock's contract. Allegedly, that's not something that Marvel is too keen on.

So now we've got two tough guy creative types going head to head, Avi Arad, chief of Marvel Studios, against Vince McMahon. It's the first PPV ever that I would personally lay down money to see.

The two brawlers circle each other warily in a Table-Ladder-Mjolnir match, with John Ross and John Romita, Jr. announcing. Just as Arad goes down (duh -- we already know McMahon plays dirty), there's a run-in from the ultimate heel, Bill Jemas. But whose side will he choose?

No matter the outcome, they will meet again in the WWE's first ever "Hell in a Cosmic Cube" match.

Derek McCaw

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