Two new Asian characters are being added to the mainstream superhero lineup, both originators from Marvel comic series.
The News Trace announced that a Ms. Marvel TV series will be coming to Disney+. Ms. Marvel, also known as Muslim Pakistani American teenager Kamala Khan, gains shapeshifting powers from Terrigen Mist, a fictional substance.
Some, particularly fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, know Ms. Marvel as Carol Danvers, who starred in this year’s Captain Marvel and was a recurring character in later MCU films. It made over $426,000,000 domestically, one of the highest-grossing films in 2019, Box Office Mojo reported. However, in the comics, Danvers relinquishes the title to become Captain Marvel and serves as an inspiration to the young hero, who becomes a superhero in her own right.
The series may catapult Khan into the MCU itself, and perhaps result in a movie of her own, The News Trace speculated.
The second character is Cindy Moon, a web-slinging superhero in the Spider-Man comics. Sony Pictures announced Moon will be getting her own movie and feature in the sequel to Into the Spider Verse, according to a report by ScreenRant.
In the comics, Korean American student Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider as Peter Parker, but she was targeted by Inheritors, universe-traveling predators on the prowl for people with spider powers. As a result, Moon was forced into hiding for her own safety for ten years, then later was rescued by Peter to become Silk and start her own adventures.
Although the character appeared briefly as Parker’s classmate in Spider-Man: Home-coming, she hasn’t appeared in later films. If Sony follows the Marvel/Infinity War canon, this could be explained: Moon might be a survivor of Thanos’s Snap, stepping in as a substitute for Spider-Man when Peter Parker and other heroes were absent during the five-year gap between Infinity War and Endgame. Another theory put forward by ScreenRant is that Moon could be another Spider-Man incarnation from another dimension in the Into the Spider-Verse sequel.
Either way, both Khan and Moon will add to the growing but still underrepresented Asian American characters in the media. UCLA’s annual Hollywood Diversity Report said 3.4% of film leads are Asian, with overall representation behind White, Black, and Latino roles in 2019.
Recently, Asian American representation has risen in films and TV series. Crazy Rich Asians in particular was the first film to star an Asian American cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, and its success was contributed to a social media campaign called #GoldOpen by many Asian American celebrities and public figures. Meanwhile, shows like Fresh off the Boat and Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before with Asian American leads were critical successes.
With shows like Fresh Off the Boat and one of the year’s holiday movies, Last Christmas starring Henry Golding of Crazy Rich Asians fame, these two new teenage superheroes will be added not only to the pantheon of Marvel superheroes but to overall representation and storylines for Asian American characters as well.