Post-Black Panther, Here Are Some Other Heroes The MCU Badly Needs To Bolster Its Diversity

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has already grown to a depth and scope that even the most optimistic fans couldn't have anticipated. It's still growing, which has led to a search for the best characters the MCU hasn't used yet. When it comes to the list of characters who need to be in Marvel films, those that represent diversity are often at the very top. Although Marvel Comics have made consistent efforts to inject more diversity and representation into their books, their partners at Marvel Studios are lagging a bit behind. Black Panther did wonders for adding some worldliness to the MCU, but there's still a long way to go.

The are a number of available diverse characters the MCU needs if it really wants to represent the heroes of an entire world. Entire continents have yet to produce a single superhero, and any LGBTQ content has been next-to-nonexistent. With more than 20 upcoming films on the slate, Marvel Studios has plenty of opportunity to fix this issue and decades of publishing history to draw from.

  • Red Wolf
    Photo: Red Wolf: Man Out of Time / Marvel Comics

    Most of the action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes place in the US, but so far there has been zero representation of the original inhabitants of the continent. The pages of Marvel Comics, on the other hand, feature a number of Indigenous People of the Americas as characters, and Red Wolf would undoubtedly be the best candidate of the bunch to make it onto the big screen.

    A few different individuals have used the “Red Wolf” moniker over the years, but the longest-lasting has been a man whose given name is actually Red Wolf and who traveled to the modern Marvel continuity from the year 1872. Obviously, this gives him a unique perspective on the current day America, and he soon teams up with Hawkeye to form an unofficial Avengers squad aimed at stamping out inequality. Red Wolf doesn’t have much in the way of superpowers, but he can communicate with animals, and he is an expert combatant and survivalist.

  • Lightning
    Photo: Avengers: No Surrender / Marvel Comics

    Miguel Santos is a former member of the West Coast Avengers and a current Avengers reserve. He used to go by the name “Living Lightning,” but changed it to just Lightning when he found himself getting constantly confused for a villain named the Living Laser. However, his old nickname might actually be more apt, as Santos is best described as a “sentient electrical plasma force with no mass,” and that allows him to fly around really fast and zap people. In other words, he’d be a powerful addition to the MCU Avengers roster, and as an openly gay Latino male, Lightning would also bring a severely underrepresented demographic to the big screen.

  • Ms. Marvel

    Ms. Marvel
    Photo: Ms. Marvel Omnibus Vol. 1 / Marvel Comics

    It could be argued that Kamala Khan, or Ms. Marvel, is the most popular Marvel character created since the turn of the century. Kamala is an individual who is intimately familiar with discrimination: She’s both a Pakistani-American Muslim born and raised in New Jersey AND an Inhuman. When she discovers she has the ability to “embiggen” any and all parts of her body, Kamala takes over the Ms. Marvel moniker from her hero, Carol Danvers, who became Captain Marvel. Since that moment, Ms. Marvel has displayed fictional heroism and bravery that is nothing short of astonishing, and has been inspiring youth in both the Marvel Universe and the real world. Can Hollywood be far behind?

  • Sera

    Photo: Angela: Queen of Hel: Journey to the Funderworld / Marvel Comics

    Given that Marvel Studios has thus far refused to include more than a hint of homosexuality in its films, one can assume the notion of seeing a transgender character anytime soon is a longshot. Long-time comic readers will probably note Loki is traditionally portrayed as gender fluid, but that’s not the case in the MCU, and future films would do better to look at another Asgardian-type instead - Sera, lover of Thor’s sister and kicker of asses.

    The sister in question, Angela, is a comic book anomaly, having been imported from the pages of Image Comics and inserted into Thor’s continuity. She’s a warrior angel, and Sera is her lifelong friend and partner who, although born male, identified as female and was able to physically become so via mystic methods.

  • Shang-Chi
    Photo: Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: Run the Mission, Don't Get Seen, Save the World / Marvel Comics

    The continent of Asia has been drastically underrepresented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the issue was only exacerbated by the flop of “mighty whitey” Iron Fist and the whitewashing of the Ancient One in Doctor Strange. While Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu, originally started his comic book career as a Chinese stereotype in the ’70s, he has since developed into a complex character and one of the most beloved additions to the Avengers’ roster in recent memory. The rounding out of his personality hasn’t changed the fact that Shang-Chi is a master of all manner of martial arts, which is the primary reason he would make a welcome addition to the MCU.

  • The Young Avengers

    The Young Avengers
    Photo: Young Avengers Omnibus / Marvel Comics

    Marvel Studios has featured a pitifully small amount of LGBTQ representation, but the comic book side of the company has an entire team of queer heroes waiting in the wings. There have been a number of squads carrying the title of “Young Avengers” over the years, but the most recent iteration had a top-notch lineup: Wiccan, Hulkling, Kate Bishop/Hawkeye, America Chavez, Noh-Varr, and a youthful version of Loki. It just so happened that, with the questionable exception of Kate Bishop, the entire unit found themselves somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum.