10 Black Marvel Superheroes Who Could Advance The MCU After 'Avengers: Endgame'

April 29th 2019

This article contains MAJOR plot details about Avengers: Endgame. Spoilers ahead!

Avengers: Endgame is the end of an era. The two deaths in the film, plus Captain America's retirement, provide fans a lot of fodder for as to who will fill those voids. The changes also beg us to ask the question of how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will reshape itself in the future. As Endgame showed, where there's an end, there's also a new beginning. Thankfully, as we saw in one of the film's final scenes, that new beginning includes more visibility for MCU's established Black superheroes and the potential to showcase even more Black characters from the comics.

So where can the MCU go from Endgame? Here are 10 Black characters who could (and in some cases, will) make the next era of the MCU one for the record books.

1. Falcon

Image credit: Disney/Marvel Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Something I never thought the MCU would do would be to finally put a Black person at the head of the Avengers. But, indeed, we saw the mantle of Captain America get passed from a now-old Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), to his right-hand man, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), aka the Falcon.

Of course, Falcon becomes the new Captain America in the comics. But with how white-centric the MCU has been since Iron Man, I was expecting the film to buck comic book tradition and make Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) the next Cap. But seeing Sam become the next in line cements the fact that this is a new day in Marvel Studios. As Yolanda Machado expertly wrote in her GQ article about Endgame, the end of the Infinity Saga marks the end of Marvel's Kevin Feige's personal mission to reverse the racist and sexist tactics put in play by Marvel's former CEO Ike Perlmutter. As Machado notes in her article, this is a guy who reportedly said all Black people look alike when replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine and felt women superheroes didn't sell. His tactics are on full display in the early part of the MCU, particularly the first Iron Man, which wages in Middle Eastern "terrorist" stereotypes and dismissals of women.

Seeing Sam hold Cap's Vibranium shield is a testament to how far the MCU has come, both in evolving its story as well as its quest to make the on-screen superheroes represent its diverse audience. Sam and Bucky already have a Disney+ series coming, but don't think that he won't be a vital part of the upcoming films as well.

2. Black Panther

Photo: Marvel Studios Image Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

If you read my Infinity War article about T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman)'s dust-death, you would have inferred that I was extremely irritated. We finally got a Black Marvel superhero who was the star of his own film and, in my opinion, changed the MCU game forever, only to see him get killed in the next movie. Not only that, but Shuri (Letitia Wright) was taken out off-screen as well!

Thankfully, our king and princess have returned, and I can't wait to see what else T'Challa is going to do now that there's a huge vacuum in the Avengers pantheon. It's tough to say if he would become an active part of the Avengers because he very much is Marvel's Batman in that he's used to working alone. But I think we can definitely count on seeing him join the Avengers on more missions as well as do more outreach now that the entire world has experienced a five-year trauma that has brought everyone closer together. T'Challa's not just a superhero -- he's a world leader. He has a responsibility the other Avengers don't have, and it's going to be fun to see him rise to the challenge.

3. Monica Rambeau

Image credit: Marvel Studios Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Last we saw Monica, she was a little kid in 1995 (Akira Akbar). By the time we see Monica again in the MCU, she's sure to be an adult. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Will we see her already established as Photon, or will we find her on her way towards taking on the Captain Marvel mantle herself? Regardless of what role Monica will have when she next shows up, it'll be fun to see her as an active member of the Avengers under the new Captain America. Her potential Avengers role would also make her the first Black woman Avenger in the MCU. It's an oversight that will, hopefully, finally get rectified. Too bad it took a decade for this glimmer of hope to arrive.

4. Ironheart

Image Credit: Marvel Comics Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Now that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is gone, a position is open for Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. This character is a big hit in the comic books, but she has yet to have an opportunity to make her way into the MCU. However, with Tony Stark's death, we could see an avenue where Riri can fill Tony's shoes.

Let's look at some hypotheticals. What if Riri was Tony's favorite protege from one of his many STEM camps, and upon hearing his death, Riri decides to honor her former mentor by creating her own iron suit? Or, what if she becomes a protege of Pepper Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow), since she is also a superhero in her own right, especially given the events of Endgame? There are many easy ways Marvel could spin this, and regardless of the method they choose, Tony's death gives us the best chance for seeing Riri on screen. If so, that would mean we'd have two Black female characters in the Avengers. Keep your fingers crossed, everyone.

5. Valkyrie

Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Similar to how Steve handed over the Captain America shield to Sam, an emotionally-embattled Thor (Chris Hemsworth) handed over the kingdom of New Asgard to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), now the strongest fighter next to Thor himself. Seeing a Black woman become a leader is heartening, but the question remains as to whether Marvel knows what kind of character they have in her.

Marvel has had trouble representing women in the past, plus it's taken them a decade to finally make a woman the lead of a superhero film. While a lot of this might have been because of Feige's corporate battles with Perlmutter, the fact remains that too many of the scriptwriters Marvel has employed have continuously written women either as damsels in distress, mother figures to their significant others, or objects of desire and conquest. Even Captain Marvel, which was co-written by a woman, had its problems with representing women of color in a comprehensive light.

It's going to take a special writer to take on a Valkyrie-led movie. He or she will have to be interested in examining the inner world of a queer, Black female character in an honest and respectful way. Will we see that writer emerge and will Marvel be brave enough to hire them? Time will tell. But without doubt, there's a cool movie to be made with Valkyrie. In terms of Black woman representation, it would be unlike anything we've seen from Marvel yet.

6. War Machine

Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Now that Tony is gone, where does this leave Rhodey? Hopefully, with his own spinoff movie.

As much as I love Don Cheadle, we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that Rhodey is another Black sidekick in a Marvel Cinematic Universe full of Black or POC sidekick characters. The MCU has a very insidious habit of positioning people of color in these secondary roles, as if they only exist to play off the white lead and provide them mental, emotional and even physical support. But like all of the secondary characters in this universe, Rhodey shouldn't be relegated to just being a sidekick. He's an active member of the U.S. military, a hero with or without his iron suit. He's a lieutenant colonel for goodness' sake--doesn't he deserve to be treated as such?

Therefore, here's hoping that Marvel finally does right by Rhodey and give him his own film. It'd be a sign that they want to expand his characterization within the MCU and allow him to play an even bigger part in the Avengers. But it'd also be a send-up to those who recognize how important Rhodey is beyond his role as "Tony's best friend."

7. Miles Morales

Image credit: Sony Pictures Animation Image credit: Sony Pictures Animation

One thing that may have slipped by viewers is that Marvel casually introduced the concept of the Multiverse. When the Avengers go back in time to secure the Infinity Stones, they also tripped up on the fact that they aren't just going back into their own timeline -- they are also affecting the alternate timelines. In other words, they've essentially entered alternate universes.

Of course, we have The Ancient One explain this when she talked to the Hulk about the Avengers potentially ruining her timeline by taking the Stones. But we also have proof of the Multiverse with Steve's actions. Firstly, after the alternate Battle of New York, Steve pretends to be an undercover Hydra operative, recalling the recent Captain America comic book storyline in which Cap's mind is controlled to act for Hydra. Also, at the end of the film, Steve takes a break from returning the Stones and lives out an entire lifetime with alternate Peggy (Hayley Atwell), coming back to the present as an old man.

With all of that said, there's much more potential than ever before for Miles Morales to be brought into the MCU. Again, speaking hypothetically, just imagine a storyline in which the Avengers need to use the Pym Particles to time travel and the gang happens to run into Miles. Or what if someone from Miles' storyline accesses the Pym Particles and Miles has to travel to our present to stop them? Let's face it, Miles is already a part of the animated Marvel universe via Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It's only a small leap and a jump to take him from the animated world to the live action one.

8. Storm

Image credit: Marvel Comics Image credit: Marvel Comics

Say what you will about the horrors of Disney becoming an even bigger conglomerate now that they've bought out 21st Century Fox, but one of the upsides from capitalism gone awry is that the X-Men are now back under Marvel's jurisdiction. This means that we could possibly look forward to seeing Storm actually meet and get married to T'Challa.

Of course, there are much more important things for Storm to do other than become someone's wife, and to be honest, it seems like Marvel is already satisfied with T'Challa staying with Nakia. But regardless, Storm could now become a bigger part of the MCU as a whole and add even more dimension to its roster of characters from the African diaspora. Also important: we could possibly, finally have an actress worthy of playing Storm cast in the role now that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the last film under the Fox banner, meaning actors' stints as the popular mutant characters will most likely be up for grabs.

9. Patriot

Image credit: Marvel Comics Image credit: Marvel Comics

There's no telling if we'd ever see Patriot, Elijah Bradley, come into his own within the MCU. But the Falcon is now the new Captain America, and that changes things.

In the comics, Elijah is the grandson of the first African-American super-soldier, Isaiah Bradley. Isaiah was among 300 Black men in Mississippi who were experimented on in a similar way to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, and he was the only one to survive. Elijah wanted to carry on his grandfather's superhero career and, long story short, became a super-soldier himself.

Another way Patriot could come into the MCU is through Rayshaun Lucas, who is indirectly wound up in Sam's tenure as Captain America during his journey towards becoming the next Patriot. Perhaps it could be this version of Patriot that becomes Sam's apprentice as Sam channels Rayshaun's vigilante energy away from firebombing a bank and towards acting for the good of everyone.

Even though the Falcon is already holding down the Captain America mantle, whose to say a teenage Patriot, either Isaiah or Rayshaun, doesn't seek the Falcon out and ask to be an apprentice of sorts, similar to how Spider-Man became Iron Man's surrogate son? A movie starring the Falcon and Patriot fighting crime with a wizened Steve Rogers and Isaiah acting as counsel writes itself.

10. Moon Girl

Image credit: Marvel Comics Image credit: Marvel Comics

The MCU has shown us many trippy things, from Asgardians to time guardians, from aliens to a talking raccoon and tree. So the argument that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is too out there for the MCU is moot. On the contrary, the risks the MCU has taken by showing us its trippier side has paved a solid road for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur to travel on.

Also, our chances of seeing Moon Girl, aka Lunella LaFayette, transition from comics to screen is much more realistic than you think. Laurence Fishburne is behind a Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur animated series for the Disney Channel. With that in the works, whose to say Moon Girl can't wind up in an MCU film?

What characters are you excited to see in the next era of the MCU?

 

READ MORE:

‘Marvel’s Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur’ Animated Series In The Works At Disney From Laurence Fishburne

How 'Captain Marvel' Erases Monica Rambeau

Lashana Lynch On The Diverse New Future Of Marvel: “It’s Only The Beginning"

'Captain Marvel' Empowers And Inspires As The MCU Expands Into Girl Power [Spoilers]

Akira Akbar On Becoming Monica Rambeau In 'Captain Marvel' 

Numbers Don't Lie: Brie Larson And Samuel L. Jackson Speaking Out Against Racism And Sexism Isn't Threatening Major 'Captain Marvel' Box Office Opening 

What Marvel Underestimated About T'Challa, The Black Panther

10 Things We Need To See In 'Black Panther 2'

by Monique Jones on April 29th 2019

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