For the longest time, the superhero verse, especially on the big screen only featured straight white males. Sure, there were exceptions to the rule such as 1998’s Blade starring Wesley Snipes, but even so, Blade was such a non-mainstream, R-rated movie that it’s difficult to even take it into account. The big-budget blockbuster superhero flicks were dominated by one race and one gender. However, in recent times, things have started to change.
Over the past couple of years or so, studios have started to feature people of colour and women in leading roles in comic book movies. It’s about damn time! What’s great is that films like Wonder Woman, Black Panther and Captain Marvel have not only received favourable reviews but also done wonders at the box office.
In an interview with Huffington Post, director of Avengers: Endgame, Joe Russo was asked if there’s now a possibility of seeing a superhero movie featuring a queer protagonist. To which Russo replied:
“Well, I can assure you that you will hear about something very soon!”
This is great news! At the end of the day, black, white and brown, men and women, straight or otherwise, we all want to see ourselves being represented on the big screen in a positive and prominent way. Recently, Marvel Studios announced that it’s developing a Shang-Chi movie, which would be the studios’ first superhero movie with an Asian protagonist. The film is set to be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
Coming at the heels of that is another exciting story that ties into the theme of diversity. It appears that we could soon be getting another prominent Asian character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly of the Indian ethnicity. During a press event for Endgame in Mumbai, Joe Russo was asked by Hindustan Times if he’d like to work with an Indian in the future. Russo had this to say:
“I’d love to work with Priyanka. I’m smiling only because we’re potentially talking to her about something, I’m just not going to say what yet.”
This news comes as a pleasant surprise. As of right now, Marvel Studios/Kevin Feige has yet to officially announce an MCU movie featuring an Indian superhero, so we have nothing much to go on here. Keep in mind that Joe Russo did not explicitly mention that Priyanka (if she’s cast) would actually be playing one of the powered heroes. She could very well be a S.H.I.E.L.D agent in the vein of Nick Fury and Agent Maria Hill or she could also play a villain.
However, if she is indeed set to play a superhero, there isn’t a huge pool of existing female Indian Marvel comics characters to choose from. The one that pops into mind is a cool telepath named Raani Jatwinder AKA Vesper, who’s part of a team called Genetix.
It is truly an exciting time to be a comic book nerd!