My thoughts on the Upcoming MCU

by , under comics, entertainment, Geek, movies, personal, Pirate

At a Marvel press event yesterday, they announced the movies of Phase 3. For those not familar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movies are broken up into phases. Iron Man is off on its own, and Phase 1 officially started with Iron Man 2, Thor, Hulk and Captain America. All those movies, timeline-wise happen in and around each other. Phase 1 ends with the Avengers. Phase 2 covers Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, Thor 2, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 2. (And Ant-Man. I keep forgetting Ant-Man.)

So I figured I’d go from beginning to end.

mcu-cap3

I’ve been worrying that this was coming, as soon as the Pegasus facility was mentioned in Avengers. Civil War was a major story arc in the Marvel comics – big enough that while I wasn’t a huge Marvel fan, I actually read it (this was back in the days of scans_daily on LJ, and man, that makes me feel like I’m old). And… it just tore me apart, and unfortunately set up a lot of stuff in the comics that I didn’t particularly like.

But I’ve been talked back from the ledge- having it be a Captain America movie means that Steve will be the moral barometer and that they’ve slowly been pushing Tony into a position for him to make some questionable decisions. (And that’s factoring in the questionable ones in Phase 2)

mcu-drstrange

Not the movie I’m most excited for, and last night I was saddened by the rumor that Benedict Cumberbatch was taking on the role. He’s a fine actor, but the MCU right now is pretty darn white. Plus, Dr. Strange was one of those characters that was created when people thought you couldn’t really have an asian lead- so instead you had a white guy learn the mystical powers of the East. It’d be a nice correction to have him played by a non-white actor.

At least the tweet above gives me hope. Fingers crossed for someone awesome. Like Oded Fehr, or Pedro Pascal. Who would you cast if you were going for a non-white Dr. Strange?

mcu-gotg2

I think this was a given, but it makes me very happy. Yay for space misfits!

mcu-thor3

Loki will return! Ragnarok! Aaaahhhh.

mcu-bp

T’challa! It’s about time. They announced that Chadwick Boseman will be playing Black Panther with a 5 picture deal. So there’s your first POC lead in the MCU. May he pave the way for a lot more!

mcu-marvel

Captain Marvel. Who they confirmed would be Marvel’s current Cap – Carol Danvers! And the MCU will finally get their first female centric film. I love the book, and I think she’ll be a great addition to the MCU. Any thoughts on who you think they’d get for Carol? (Katee. I mean it)

mcu-avengers3

I think Marvel comics fan has been waiting for this to be announced- other than the Civil War, this has been the storyline that they’ve been setting up from Thor onward. And it’s an event so big, they had to split it in two. I’m excited.

mcu-inhumans

…and I’m really excited about The Inhumans. Black Bolt and Medusa are one of my favorite couples, and with Carol being Captain Marvel, it makes me wonder if they’ll add Kamala in the lineup, since she’s Ms. Marvel. Because that would be amazing!!

So, I’m definitely excited for what the MCU has coming up. What are your thoughts- and tell me, who would you cast as Carol Danvers and Dr. Strange?

  • I’m with you that there needs to be more diversity, but I’m not a fan of reinventing existing characters to meet that goal. Create new, diverse characters that can stand on their own.

  • Sorry for the length of this- I’m not replying to try to change your opinion- I just realize I’d never explained why I would want them to recast the part. Earlier this year, I went to a panel at Wondercon on diversity in comics, and we had a long discussion about this- it was right after they’d announced that Johnny Storm would be played by Michael B Jordan. And we talked a lot about identity and diversity.

    The truth is that when the bulk of these characters were created, it was impossible to pitch a lead character that was a minority. So you saw characters like Iron Fist or Dr. Strange who have ties to the East, but who are white. It was the only way to introduce those elements. And for the bulk of existing characters in comics, their race doesn’t matter. Of the current Avengers- the only characters who definitely would be white based on their backgrounds are Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Natasha. No way they would have gone for a non-white super soldier. Tony’s background is the very model of societal privilege and financial privilege. Natasha… it was the KGB and Russia. She’d have to be white.

    There are very few Marvel character overall where race is a big part of their character- T’challa, Storm, Rhodey, Falcon, Luke Cage, Monica Rambeau. (I know there are more, but that’s all I could think off of the top of my head)

    I do agree that we should be creating new, diverse characters – but when the existing characters are probably 95% white, I’m all for changing a few. I don’t want them to be a token gesture- but in the case of a character that you could argue probably could have been Asian or Middle Eastern to begin with? I don’t have a problem giving them a different background, especially when it’s undoing the time-old trope where a White Person is Imbued with the Knowledge and Powers of a Non-White People.

  • I feel like I agree with you about everything up to retroactively changing an existing character. I’m not sure the solution to the original whitewashing of characters like Dr. Strange or Iron Fist is to… I don’t know what you would call changing those two to Asian characters.

    With that said, I wouldn’t be upset if they did make that decision. It’s just not the one that I would make.

  • Ok, I figured out why I’m not crazy about the idea…. it feels lazy. Like “Oh, you want more black characters? Fine – Johnny Storm (who we were willing to kill off not too long ago) is now black!”

    It feels like a copout to me.

  • Jones6192

    I would love Cumberbatch as Strange. I understand that there is a cry for more diversity, and we’re getting that with both Panther (the once I personally am most excited for—always loved the concept since seeing that animated Avengers movie a while back) and Captain Marvel. I think Benedict is a fantastic actor, and he could easily bring the intimidating, powerful aura Strange needs. Plus, pretty good dead ringer IMO.

    And besides, we already have Fury, Rhodey, Heimdall and Hogun, plus Triplett and Melinda May and Skye from Agents of SHIELD. I personally think Marvel is making steps to be more diverse that are somewhat being unacknowledged at large. Remember, they’re dealing with a fan-base that unfortunately is made up of some very fanatical people who will give them hell for any progressive changes to their beloved heroes or villains (the roars over what happened to Mandarin, even though that wasn’t much to do with race, still rings in my ears…), so they have to be careful and almost play reverse-psychology with their own fans.

    And this is from someone actually really intrigued, almost excited, by us getting a black Johnny Storm. So I’m by no means a ‘fidelity to source above all else, no matter what!’ guy.

  • I would be so down with an Asian Doctor Strange. I would be so down with an unknown actor, or at least not well known. I do NOT want it to be someone we already see all over the place.

  • I love Benedict Cumberbatch, and think he’d be fantastic in the role, but a part of me is also a bit hesitant to see him cast as Dr Strange. I think I’m reaching critical saturation with him – it feels like he’s in everything and it lessens my excitement. Your point is a good one, too. There are so few PoC characters that are established enough to get their own franchises that this seems like the perfect opportunity to cast someone with a more diverse background without undermining the lore of the character.

  • Shemp DeYoung

    You make a great point about Asian culture, but not Asian characters; I hadn’t really thought of that. My choice for Dr. Strange was Zachary Quinto.
    As far as Captain Marvel, my first thought was Ronda Rousey. I’m a big fan and she has the attitude, fighting skills, etc, but, she’d be the first to admit she’s a very green actor. So, I think the best choice is Yvonne Strahovski. The more I think about it, the more in love with that idea I am.
    Having not read all the major Marvel crossover events and such, I’m trying to decide if I should check out some TPBs to bone up. I’ve decided against reading Civil War though. Besides being a SO MANY chapters, it’s got so much Peter Parker so the MCU version will change so much I don’t think I’ll bother.

  • Yvonne Strahovski would be amazing. She can do action- and play tough, yet vulnerable. And comedy, she can be funny, too. (Plus, how awesome would it be to have TWO Chuck alums in the MCU?) Someone else mentioned Katherine Winnick (I probably misspelled her name) from Vikings. Which would be an interesting choice, too.

  • We really are reaching a saturation level with him. I was already sort of shrugging and saying “again” when he was cast in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and he’s had so many other roles since then. And he’s such a great actor- I love him, but he’s everywhere. Even trying to sell us Jaguars.

  • Shemp DeYoung

    I had another thought about how times were different when many of these characters were created. Back then, it was rare to have a lead, or even featured Asian or Native American character played by anyone other than White males. A couple examples come to mind. 1. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Holy smokes is that bad! It’s hard to watch.) 2. Charlie Chan. There were dozens of those movies made in the B/W era and Charlie was played by 2 different non-Asians. (At least these characters were not the all-too-common cartoon-y portrayal of the Asian man. Also, Charlie’s kids were always played by Asian actors; quite talented ones at that.)

    I like that characters can evolve and become varied over time. If Alfred Pennyworth can go from bumbling, chubby comic relief to former MI5 and Dr Watson can be equally as effective as an Asian female or a former Hobbit, the possibilities are endless.

    PS. I can’t forgive DC from changing Amanda Waller into a model-thin sex symbol though.

    PPS. My kids were shocked to learn that Nick Fury hadn’t always looked like Sam Jackson.

  • At the panel I mentioned in another comment, they were talking about those sorts of characters. I think they mentioned that it was hard to find a positive image for a Hispanic dude in pop culture until you get up to Ponch from CHIPS. Bruce Lee as Kato was a HUGE step forward, but he had to go back to Hong Kong to kickstart his film career.

    PS I will never forgive DC for that. I loved that Waller was who she was, and didn’t care what people thought about that.
    PPS I honestly think that Ultimates/MCU Nick Fury is way more interesting. His paranoia has some pretty epic societal depths rather than it just being from him being a spy. (That elevator speech from CATWS is amazing)

  • Shemp DeYoung

    TV is on. Agent Carter ad just ran. I love that show for many reasons. First, of course, strong female lead. Also though, very diverse cast of characters in the Howling Commandos. Can’t wait to see more (especially SHIELD Agent Triplett’s grandfather.)

  • Using existing characters and casting or in the case of Ms. Marvel (Kamala) and Spider-Man (Miles Morales) or Captain America, (Sam Wilson) in comics, allows an existing story that the audience is invested in to be illustrated as universal without introducing a whole new storyline. There’s literally zero relevance to Johnny Storm, Perry White, Danny Rand, or Stephen Strange :being: white. So why not race or gender flip those roles to bring and audience fully into the 21st century where non-whites are actually the majority of people on the planet and where women are more than half the population? White and male are not character defining traits, 99% of the time.

  • Kamala, Miles Morales, and Sam Wilson are new characters, though. Well, Sam Wilson was a character on his own long before becoming Captain America, but my point stands. Those three examples are exactly what I’m suggesting would be the best approach.

    There actually is relevance to Strange and Rand being white in their backstories, but those elements were copout justifications for making them white instead of Asian. I’m not UPSET by the idea of changing them to other races or genders, I just think it’s a copout.

  • Dee

    Oded Fehr is an Ashkenazi Jew.

    For future reference:
    Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman,
    Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk,
    Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julian Morris, Adam Brody, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings,
    Gabriel Macht, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott
    Mechlowicz, Lisa Kudrow, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Debra
    Messing, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Sarah
    Michelle Gellar, Margarita Levieva, Elizabeth Berkley, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel,
    Mia Kirshner, Alden Ehrenreich, Eric Balfour, Jason Isaacs, Jon Bernthal.

    Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave
    Franco, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe,
    Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Connelly, Nora
    Arnezeder, Goldie Hawn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Peet, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan,
    Joel Kinnaman, Ben Barnes, Patricia Arquette, Kyra Sedgwick, Dave Annable.

    Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either
    raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Andrew Garfield, Ezra Miller, Gwyneth
    Paltrow, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, Nicola Peltz, James Maslow, Josh Bowman,
    Winona Ryder, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron, Jonathan Keltz.

    Oh, and Ansel Elgort’s father is Jewish, though I don’t know how Ansel was
    raised.

    Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism
    -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia
    Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

  • Thank you for sharing, though I’m not entirely sure what this list has to do with the discussion about whether or not he’d be well cast as Dr. Strange.