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Representation is the theme of Marvel's Phase 4

By Say Peng  /  23 Jul 2019 (Tuesday)

At San Diego Comic-Con last Saturday, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced to hysterical fans the post-Avengers roster of films.
With the mega-success of Black Panther and Captain Marvel proving that minority and women superheroes can sell, Marvel Studios is going full steam ahead with diversity.

After appearing in all the Avenger movies, Black Widow will finally have her own standalone movie. 

After Thor, who is worthy of wielding Mjolnir?

This was unexpected, but it's none other than Thor's ex-flame Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, who cheekily said: "Feels pretty good. I've always had a little hammer envy" when she held Mjolnir in her hand.

And Foster won't be called "Female Thor" as many have been doing. She will be called...

Returning to direct the next Thor movie is Taika Waititi, whose Thor: Ragnarok was the most successful Thor movie thus far and one of Marvel's best movies. 

With Mighty Thor, Marvel has one more female superhero in their roster. 

Tessa Thompson also confirms that Valkyrie is queer. In response to a question about what Valkyrie would change as the new king of Asgard, Thompson said: "First of all, as new king, she needs to find her queen."

Not many people know, but the vampire hunter Blade belongs to Marvel Comics. 

Blade had his own trilogy of movies starting in 1998, starring Wesley Snipes. In 2011, the rights of Blade reverted back to Marvel and now Marvel is setting out to reboot Blade.

Snipes will not be reprising the role. Taking up the mantle is recent Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, whose credits include Green Book and Moonlight.

The mega-success of Black Panther has undoubtedly paved the way for this. Blade will become Marvel's third African-American screen superhero.

Who is the second, you're wondering. It's Falcon.

Speaking of Falcon, he and the Winter Soldier will have their own movie after playing supporting heroes to Captain America.

The real breakthrough in diversity and representation for Marvel, however, is Shang-Chi.

Shang-Chi will be Marvel's first Asian-American superhero to go onto the big screen.

Shang-Chi will be played by Asian Canadian actor Simu Liu. 

Most people won't have heard of Liu, who has acted in the sitcom Kim's Convenience and several other Canadian TV series.

Crazy Rich Asians' Awkwafina and acclaimed Hong Kong actor Tony Leung will also star in the film. This is Leung's first Hollywood film.

And helming Shang-Chi is Destin Daniel Cretton, the director behind the critically acclaimed Short Term 12, which gave Brie Larson her first leading role.

With such an incredible cast and director, and being the first Asian-American Marvel film, Shang-Chi has a lot to live up to. 

Last but not least, The Eternals.

The Eternals are a group of immortal beings with some incredible cosmic powers. (Fun fact: Thanos was an Eternal.)

The cast comprises Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lia McHugh as Sprite, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh.

A deaf actress, Ridloff's character Makkari will be Marvel's first deaf superhero. 

Feige concluded the show by saying that he did not have time to talk about Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxies 3...

There is a lot to look forward to. Marvel is certainly not resting on their laurels.
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