There’s been an avalanche of news coming out from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but arguably none are as huge as the many revelations about Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It became quickly evident that — along with news of Doctor Strange and Thor sequels — one thing distinguishes the next batch of superhero movies from the previous three: They’re incredibly diverse, with major roles going to women, to people of color, to people of many ethnicities, and to the LGBTQ+ community.
This has prompted great joy — and we’re assuming, in parts of the internet we’re not going to currently explore, probably some fury. But many we’re stoked and relieved to see a rainbow of new faces in the MCU.
There’s Angelina Jolie heading The Eternals, which also boasts the Pakistan-born Kumail Nanjiani, as well as Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, and deaf actress Lauren Ridloff. There’s the long-promised Black Widow solo movie, centered around Scarlett Johansson’s butt-kicker — at one point the only female Avenger — that also features Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, and O.T. Fagbenle.
There’s the all-Asian cast of Shang-Chi, which includes Simu Liu, Awkwafina, and the legendary Tony Leung. There’s the reboot of Blade that will star two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali. Natalie Portman will return to Thor for its fourth installment, subtitled Love and Thunder, this time as a superhero, not a mere love interest. Speaking of Thor, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie will become the first queer Marvel superhero.
It’s a lot, and emphasizes how MCU — and possibly most of Hollywood — is becoming more representative of a diverse America and the globe. On social media, people celebrated all the news.
Some were particularly elated by the all-Asian Shang-Chi.
Some pointed to Thompson’s queen-hunting Valkyrie.
Some singled out Ridloff, the first actor with a disability in the mega-franchise.
There were people who were a bit more critical, wondering why it took Marvel so long to become diverse.
And some worried that these new films will wind up censored in less-welcoming nations.