As more and more Marvel and DC fans rise up with each new comic franchise hitting the box office, many are calling for diversity on the big screen. Both companies have the potential or have already introduced some incredible characters into their movies, but they haven’t taken the opportunity to highlight them. Take Jubilee, a member of the X-Men comics for instance. She’s a Chinese-American and has made cameos in nearly all the movies yet only die-hard fans would notice her lurking in the background since she is never named.
How about a movie centered on a shapeshifting Pakistani-American teenager? If that sparked your interest, then the Ms. Marvel comics about Kamala Khan struggling to overcome the labels imposed on her due to her heritage is the comic for you. Kamala Khan’s idol and namesake—Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel has her own movie coming out in 2019 and if we’re lucky, maybe Ms. Marvel can help save the day and be one of the first Muslim superheroes on the big screen.
But diversity doesn’t end with only ethnic groups. What about heroes embracing their disabilities to rescue the innocent? Daredevil is the first hero to come to mind but what if I told you the Avenger known as Hawkeye is actually deaf in some comics. Marvel could easily make this a reality in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) since Hawkeye renders himself deaf with a sonic arrow when fighting for justice. Diversity with disabilities shouldn’t be limited only to the big screen either. Netflix’s Daredevil could easily introduce Echo, a deaf Native American aiming to kill the Kingpin in their series that already highlights an awesome hero embracing his disability.
Marvel might be the hot ticket right now but DC comics has some incredible diversity, especially in the Batman family. Take the fourth Batgirl for instance. Cassandra Cain is the daughter of two of DC’s top assassins and a Eurasian (a person of Asian and European descent), but she is also mute due to her parents only teaching her the language of violence instead of words. Then there’s the most iconic Batgirl, Barbara Gordon who was paralyzed after the Joker shot her in the spine. But instead of hanging up her cape and sitting at home, Barbara became Oracle, the Bat family’s info broker and hacker that has saved multiple members of the Batman family from sticky situations.
What about representations of the LGBTQIA community? Let’s start out with one of the top superheroes at the moment, Deadpool. Did you guys know Deadpool is actually pansexual? The first film gave us a sappy romance but given the character’s personality and success of his last movie, Marvel better showcase his sexuality in the next movie. Otherwise, they might have some angry fans after them.
How about two characters that could easily be introduced into the MCU right now? Hulking, a teenager meant to reflect the Hulk with shapeshifting abilities that go far beyond those of Bruce Banner, and Wiccan, the son of Vision and Scarlet Witch. Wiccan has the abilities of Scarlet Witch but the fashion sense of Thor while Hulking is an alien prince with multiple piercings. In the comics, Hulking and Wiccan are teammates, both gay, and currently engaged to each other. In recent comics, Kate Kane has emerged as a woman of Jewish descent and a lesbian that fights alongside Batman to save Gotham as the kickass Batwoman.
But I can’t give heroes all the love, can I? So how about two of the most iconic villains in current Marvel movie franchises, Loki and Mystique. Due to their inherent abilities to shapeshift into anyone and into either sex, Loki and Mystique are bisexual. They are not considered genderfluid because genderfluidity is a gender identity and not the physical ability to change your sex like these two villains can.
Many comics are rich with some awesome diverse characters that deserve screen time and I purposely selected to showcase characters that could all easily make it onto the big screen because of connections already present in the current franchises. All of the characters mentioned above should be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DC Extended Universe because of the amazing qualities they bring to the films that fans are hungry for.