Thursday, July 25, 2013

Minority Superheroes in the MCU

Note: This editorial has been updated as of January 17, 2014.

One other bit of news that came from the Cup O'Joe panel at SDCC was Marvel Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada's overlooked comment that MCU fans can expect the appearance of some minority heroes in future movies.  This is wonderful news for the MCU as some of its very complex and interesting characters are minorities.  I also imagine this makes Stan Lee happy; you don't have to try hard to see the X-Men, who were introduced in a very turbulent 1963, as commentary on racism in America.  In fact, Stan said it himself in this 2000 interview with The Guardian.

As with all the Marvel stable of characters, the issue is that not every minority character is under control of Marvel Studios.  That limits the number of characters who could be brought to the screen.  We will see a minority superhero suit up when Sam Wilson/Falcon steps into the MCU in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Falcon is sure to be a huge hit with fans.  He's not just trusty sidekick character, which is, unfortunately, all Marvel has made of James Rhodes/War Machine to this point.  In his updated origins he's an Agent of Shield who is pretty much a tech genius and who also has some ties to the Vision.  He's going to kick some ass in CA:TWS and there is no doubt that Anthony Mackie can deliver the charisma, charm and confidence that Falcon needs. Hope is on the horizon though as it seems that both Falcon and War Machine may be joining the ranks of the Avengers for the 2015 sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

After that things are still up in the air.  We know that Marvel has been looking to add the Black Panther to the MCU for years and we've heard some concerns about how to visually recreate Wakanda on screen.  Whatever the issues the creative heads at Marvel are having, they certainly need to be resolved in order to bring the King of Wakanda to the MCU.  If you haven't had much exposure to T'Challa it's a shame and you should remedy that by going back and looking at the 41 issues of Vol. 3, 2005 Black Panther.  The books are well done and bring a complete understanding of just who exactly T'Challa is and why he might just be one of the BEST characters ever to come out of The House of Ideas.  Quite simply, T'Challa has no equal and is likely the most dangerous character in the comics.  His mind is unrivaled and on par with Reed Richards.  He is nearly unbeatable in any number of throw down scenarios and he has the confidence and wherewithal to make sure that his nation remain sovereign and unimpeded by the rest of the world.    Technologically superior to the rest of the world, Wakanda holds the largest source of Vibranium in the world and people have been after is since the Nazis.  T'Challa has ruled his country as king and led them through any number of issues.

Outside of who he is in his own country, it is what T'Challa brings to the larger universe that excites me about his potential involvement in the MCU. Flatly put, T'Challa is feared and respected by every other major character Marvel has and that is a character we need to see on screen. He plays a key role in Marvel's New Avengers  series which is just a new version of the Illuminati, Marvel's behind the scenes cabal that run the show.

Introducing T'Challa on screen shouldn't prove too difficult. The events of The Avengers certainly grabbed his attention. Having him come to New York to investigate and spy on the group would play well and he could certainly assist in taking down Ultron. Don't be too shocked if T'Challa, or at least his kingdom of Wakanda, pops into the MCU in 2015.

Marvel has recently announced that, as a part of their deal with Netflix, they will be bringing one of their cult heroes to the screen with a Luke Cage 13-episode series. If cast well, the Hero for Hire could expand the audience for Marvel films. One man seems born to portray the power and charisma combo of Cage: The Rock.

Adding The Rock to any project is a good draw; however, with Johnson set to join the growing DC cinematic universe, it looks as if someone else will fill the role of Cage. Cage played a huge role in the Marvel universe after the Civil War, running the New Avengers and now helps head up a team of Mighty Avengers. He's far too important of a character to have stayed out of the MCU much longer and his addition to it will only make it better.

These are just a few ideas and obviously there are a lot of other ways to go. The pages of Marvel comics are full of diverse characters and have made plenty of political statements about intolerance and inequality over the years. Certainly the MCU won't be afraid to diversify either.