8 Projects to Diversify the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel has done a great job of diversifying its comic book characters recently, but the heroes from their movies tend to disproportionately be white men. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great characters within the MCU that don't fit this description (such as Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow from the movies). But even a cursory exam of the Marvel Studios movies to date shows most of the title characters are white men (think the Iron Man trilogy, the Captain America trilogy and the Thor trilogy). As things look to be changing in the near future, I'm offering up 8 projects for varying mediums that would rock in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Robert Downey Jr. is over 50 years old. Though his character's strength is his intelligence, and not brute strength, there is still a physical aspect to the character that makes me think Downey won't be able to portray the character too much longer. Even if he were to continue to portray Tony Stark, I think that character should pass the mantle of "Iron Man" to another.
Enter Riri Williams. Marvel has recently announced that within the comic book pages, the mantle of Iron Man will be passed on to a black-female who has reverse engineered one of the Iron Man suits. As Riri is not a man, she will be called "Ironheart."
This would be the perfect opportunity to have a black-female title character in a Marvel Movie. As of this writing, there still has not been either a female title character, or a black title character, though both are upcoming. This "Iron" movie, could capitalize on the recognition of the originals, and deliver the same Iron suit fun that Iron Man fans have grown to love.
2. The Wasp
Last year, the world met Ant-Man. After receiving about as much box office success as one could expect for a movie about a character most people had never heard of named "Ant-Man," it didn't take long for Marvel to announce the next movie in the series, "Ant-Man and the Wasp." This title indicates that The Wasp (portrayed by Evangeline Lilly) will equally share the spotlight with Ant-Man. Regardless of whether this is true, its not quite a win. While the title characters on all Marvel movies to date are either men (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc.) or groups of people (Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy), sharing a title simply isn't enough.
I propose that either the third movie in the series follow the pattern and simply be entitled "The Wasp," with Ant-Man as a side character, or simply launch a new trilogy focused on The Wasp herself.
3. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is a fun new comic book which was released in November of 2015. The comic follows Lunella Lafayette (aka Moon Girl) who is a female African-American preteen super-genius. And yes, she teams up with a Tyrannosaurs Rex who has been transported through time.
Following the Jurassic Park franchise's comeback with last year's "Jurassic Word," it seems as good a time as any to go for this bizarre team-up. Marvel hasn't shied away from similarly ridiculous seeming movies, they have actually tried to use these wacky aspects to get people talking (aka Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring talking trees and raccoons).
4. The Black Widow movie
The Black Widow has been around since Iron Man 2, and has been a highlight of every movie that she has been in. With as big of a hit as she has been, and having essentially become a household name, one might think this would have been green-lit a while ago.
Black Widow is one of the character who already exist in the MCU who could easily carry their own movie. I could see a Black Widow movie having a very similar feel to either "Mission Impossible," or the Angelina Jolie movie "Salt." Thankfully, there has at least been some talk of this possibility.
Another positive to this project is that it could likely be done with a smaller budget, as Black Widow's "powers" are essentially martial arts as compared to "expensive" powers (like making it appear that a human is turning into a big green monster).
5. Netflix's "Blade"
The 1998 movie "Blade" kicked off the modern era of superhero movies. New Line Cinema had the movie rights to the character until approximately 2011, when they reverted to Marvel Studios.
The dark nature of the character, as well as the level of special-effects needed, would make "Blade" a perfect fit for Netflix.
6. Kamala Khan
Kamala Khan is a Pakistani Muslim teenager who lives in New Jersey, and the most recent individual to take up the mantle of "Ms. Marvel" in Marvel comics. Kamala gained the power to stretch and shape her body, essentially the same powers as Mr. Fantastic.
Not only would this character be completely different from anything that Marvel currently has in their movies or television series, but it would be a fun way to exhibit any on-screen ideas they have for Mr. Fantastic, but aren't allowed to use (The movie rights to the Fantastic Four are currently owned by Fox).
I think this character would be a hit in whatever medium Marvel chose, but the effects might require a movie budget.
Previously known as "Captain Marvel" (lots of people seem to have gone by this name), Monica Rambeau most recently goes by the Codename "Spectrum." Noted for being the first African-American female Avenger, Spectrum is able absorb, generate, and manipulate every kind of energy.
This property would work best as a movie, because a larger budget would be needed to properly display her flying and energy powers.
8. Misty Knight Netflix Series
Misty Knight is an African-American former NYPD cop who lost her arm in an explosion, but received a replacement bionic arm from Tony Stark. Misty Knight will make her debut in next month's "Luke Cage" Netflix series. Everything that Marvel and Netflix has done so far has been gold. With the viewers that these shows are generating, it seems like a no-brainer to keep expanding. Thankfully, It has been rumored that Marvel and Netflix are already contemplating creating a series around this character.