With Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, we bid farewell to Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 as well as beloved characters like Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff. The Phase 4 of Marvel is all about change and that showed in their first two projects.
The first project in Phase 4 was WandaVision, a series which dealt with Wanda Maximoff’s grief of losing her partner the Vision in a sitcom style. WandaVision also gave the character her moniker from the comics, i.e. Scarlet Witch.
On the other hand, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes come together after the loss of Steve Rogers to fight off a violent revolutionary group. The show ended with Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America, which is monumental as a Black man took on the mantle in a conservative country.
MCU’s call to make Sam Captain America reflects in its plan for Phase 4, which is all about diversity. In Phase 3, Black Panther starring late Chadwick Boseman was the most diverse show. However, in Phase 4, many characters of colour will be introduced as superheroes and the other existing members will get their own projects to lead.
Let us take a look at some of the biggest MCU projects with People of Colour (POC) as leads:
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The 25th film to be released by Marvel Studios, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as the first film with an Asian lead. The Kim’s Convenience actor will play the eponymous character, a martial artist who leaves behind his past to live a normal life in America. Shang Chi is then introduced to the Ten Rings, which forces him to confront his past. The film will star an almost entirely Asian cast consisting of actors like Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung Chiu-wai. The film will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton of Just Mercy fame.
Marvel’s upcoming magnum opus helmed by Oscar winner Chloe Zhao, the film will introduce a new set of superheroes named The Eternals, a race of immortal beings who shaped the Earth’s history. Kumail Nanjiani will be the first South Asian superhero of the MCU, with other actors of colour including Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Ma Dong-seok, and Brian Tyree Henry. Other stars in the film include Angelina Jolie, Kit Harrington and Richard Madden. While not a lot is known about the storyline, it has been reported that the film will show the Eternals, who have lived among humans in secret for centuries, having to come out of hiding to save the world.
Black Panther 2
The loss of Chadwick Boseman left a void in the MCU family. To honour his legacy, the role of Black Panther will not be recast. The sequel to the 2017 film will dive deeper into the characters of Wakanda. If reports are to be believed Letitia Wright or Shuri will take on T’Challa’s throne. If that is true, she will be the first woman of colour to lead an MCU film. Other characters like Okoye, Nakia, Ayo and Queen Ramonda will also be explored further in the film.
Ms Marvel or Kamala Khan will be the first South Asian and Muslim character to have a solo show as a lead. Ms Marvel is currently in production and will star Iman Vellami, Bollywood’s Mohan Kapoor, Aramis Knight and Zenobia Shroff. Kamala Khan in the comics is a 16 year-old Pakistani American girl who gains shape shifting powers. Not only will the show explore her character, she will also appear in Captain Marvel 2 to help Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau.
Marvel Studios is developing a series about Ironheart or Riri Williams, a certified genius who makes a suit that is as advanced as Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits. In the Marvel comics RIRI, an MIT student makes her suit from stolen parts from the campus. However, Tony Stark soon takes her into his tutelage and introduces her as a young superhero. However, it will be interesting to see what her storyline will be in the MCU now that Tony Stark is dead. Dominique Thorne will star as Ironheart in the series.
Don Cheadle’s Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes was technically the first Black superhero as he suited up as the War Machine back in 2010’s Iron Man 2. The character fought in Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame but was still very underrated as a superhero. Now, he will finally be getting his own show in Armor Wars. James Rhodes, or Rhodey as he is called will suit up again to save Tony Stark’s technology from falling into the wrong hands. Even though it is a Tony Stark legacy show, it will be very interesting to see Rhodey and Cheadle finally getting their dues as the character and actor respectively.
Other POC superheroes in MCU Phase 4:
Monica Rambeau: We were already introduced to Monica in Captain Marvel and saw her as an adult in WandaVision. Monica acquired powers by entering Wanda’s hex and will be next seen in Captain Marvel 2 with Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan. She is portrayed by Teyonah Parris.
America Chavez: America Chavez or Miss America will be the first Latinx superhero of MCU. She will appear in Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness. She has super-strength, super speed and inter-galactic flight. She will be portrayed by Xochitl Gomez.
Eli Bradley: Eli Bradley is super-soldier Isiah Bradley’s grandson who appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. MCU Phase 4 is slowly introducing Young Avengers including Kate Bishop, Stature, Wiccan and Speed in different projects. Elijah and Eli Bradley, also known as the Patriot joins the Young Avengers in the comics. He has peak human strength and healing. Even though in TFATWS he was not a superhero, but it will happen sooner than later.
Joaquin Torres: In TFATWS Joaquin Torres is an Air Force officer who helps Sam Wilson. In the comics, he is a young boy who is experimented on and acquires wings. He becomes the Falcon when Sam Wilson becomes Captain America. In the MCU, we see Sam asking Torres to keep his old Falcon wings. We don’t know which project we will see Torres in next, but we know he will be one of the Avengers.