Diverse ethnicity in MCU’s Phase 4 has been a work in progress. Countless characters fill the movies and TV shows of Marvel. In all, there have been 5 films and 7 shows in phase 4 so far, all of which will culminate in 2023 with the release of several upcoming installments, including Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther 2, The Marvels, GOTG 3, She-Hulk, Fantastic Four, an untitled Wakanda series and more.
A lot of work is involved in keeping track of the many friends and foes in each of these flicks, even though they each have their own unique plot. To counter this, it’s reasonable to wonder how diverse this franchise is, given the rising need for such initiatives in the business world.
Year after year, audiences from all around the globe go to see Marvel films. But do the characters on film reflect the wide range of viewers? Research shows that Hollywood loses millions of dollars annually due to a lack of diversity on and off the screen.
Until Phase 4’s Loki, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continued glorifying white ethnic superheroes and villains. However, the studio has improved its diversity and tolerance in other areas.
There is obviously nothing wrong with the white ethnic groups in the MCU. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, there have been way too many white individuals on and off-screen for fans who do not fit this group to feel represented.
Needless to say, much progress has been made since the origin of the cinematic universe. Here are a few noteworthy ethnicity, but white, represented in MCU’s phase 4.
From South to East, the Asian fan community continues to be surprised by Marvel’s proactive decision to represent the Asian ethnic group in some form or the other. To begin with, Shang-Chi was the first MCU to give fans their first Asian superhero film.
Following The Legends of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange 2 wholly brought back Wong. Rumor has it that Wong was initially written out of Doctor Strange because of his racist comic book roots, but he was written before and totally inverted as a character.
Ned Leeds returned hot as everyone’s favorite Asian chum in Spider-Man: No Way Home. His presence was much-needed not just because of what the storyline demanded and would later come to be in the future Spidey movies, but if we can have Zendaya- a black female protagonist, the MCU might as well have our Asian representation done right.
Clearly, Marvel president Kevin Feige knew what more the fans wanted. With Ms. Marvel now streaming on Disney+ around the world, it is safe to assume that the South Asian Marvel fan base has never been more excited about watching an MCU show than they currently are.
Watching Ms.Marvel! Can’t keep a dry eye, a South Asian Muslim superhero! I’ve waited my whole life for this!! ❤️😭🧕🏽 pic.twitter.com/laYPtDV09B
— Rabia Khokhar (she/her) (@Rabia_Khokhar1) June 9, 2022
From Zendaya’s MJ in NWH to the upcoming group of Wakandans in the Black Panther sequel, the MCU is now not short of African (or African-American) representation.
While most black characters in phase 4 can be racial representatives, ethnically, the Wakandans from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will return to reign over the big screens with their African glory. This is so despite Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing and Kevin Feige’s well-thought-over decision to not recast T’Challa.
Upcoming black characters in the MCU’s phase 4 will include Secret Wars’ Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau, and many more.
In the Eternals, Thena, one of the Eternal’s fiercest warriors, is based on the Greek goddess Athena. The film goes so far as to argue that Thena was the inspiration for Athena in the MCU and that her time spent with the Greeks in antiquity was a catalyst for this transformation. Similarly, Ajak is inspired by a figure from Greek mythology, and the de facto protagonist, Sersi, is based on the Greek sorceress Circe.
This will be no news to fans, but Thor: Love and Thunder will have Greek representation contrary to its usual Norse mythology background. The first trailer revealed a new Pantheon inside the MCU, which was one of its most exciting parts. Here, we get our first glance at Zeus and the other Greek Gods of Olympus in the Thor 4 teaser.
Similarities exist between the pantheon of Greek gods, the Olympians, and their Norse equivalents, the Aesir. Whereas Zeus rules over the Olympians, Odin is the supreme deity of Asgarth. The Olympians, like the Asgardians, are endowed with extraordinary strength and stamina. Their technological prowess and magical abilities are beyond anything we can fathom.
Unlike most of the Gods from Greek mythology, Khonshu is an Egyptian God. In Egyptian mythology, Khonshu was a violent deity who feasted on the hearts of other Egyptian deities. Khonshu is the most significant Egyptian deity in Marvel Comics and the MCU since he is the supernatural force responsible for giving life to Marc Spector and turning him into the Moon Knight.
Several ancient Egyptian stories detail the murder of Osiris by his wicked brother Seth; he was the deity of the afterlife and fertility. In the third episode of Moon Knight, his avatar represented him in a meeting with the Egyptian gods.
Although Osiris’s avatar spoke out most strongly against Khonshu and was quick to discredit his claims concerning Arthur Harrow, it’s clear that Osiris is a staunch opponent of Khonshu.
Moon Knight 3 has Yatzil telling Marc that Hathor is the goddess of music and love. Like Ra, the supreme deity of Egypt, she presides over the heavens among various other deities.
There are several layers to the story of where Loki came from. Many legendary characters from many cultures, like the Trickster from Native American lore, have been compared to him. That said, no one but Loki and his counterparts can be considered Indo-European in the MCU so far.
While this detail; may not have been necessarily exclusive or racially visible, according to ancient mythology, the popular belief now is that he is a descendant of an Indo-European precursor. However, at the same time, fans would debate that he may simply be of White-European ethnicity in MCU’s phase 4.