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MCU Phase 4: How Marvel bodied Comic-Con by signing a diverse cast

Nobody bodied this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con like Marvel. They sent the whole internet into a frenzy when they announced what they have in store for MCU Phase 4 movies. 

The news proved to be big not only for devout MCU fans but also for the more casual viewers. Announcing movies like The Eternals, Shang-Chi, Black Widow, and others, Marvel proved Phase 4 is here to shake things up.

We all know the MCU has had issues with diversity and representation in the past. Blockbuster movies starring straight white dudes saving the rest of us from otherworldly threats were a staple for the Marvel Studios. But not anymore.

Springboarding off the success of movies and characters like Black Panther and Captain Marvel, the MCU is fully embracing a world of diverse superheroes that all fans can enjoy. Here are some of the new actors, directors, and characters we’re most hype about seeing in the coming years.

Black Widow – Scarlett Johansson and Cate Shortland

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Although ScarJo is an MCU vet, fans are hype to finally see her get her own movie. what’s even better? Cate Shortland is on to direct.

Black Widow will be the first Marvel movie to be exclusively directed by a female. We know Shortland won’t be the last, and this trend will only help the quality of the MCU films going forward.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Anthony Mackie

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Mackie is also a vet of the MCU world, but we’re most hype for this Disney Plus series because of the fact that Mackie’s Falcon character will be wielding the Captain America shield.

Yessir, we have a black Captain America. Surely, Mackie won’t try to emulate Chris Evan’s Captain America character, but rather make it his own for new fans going forward.

The Eternals – Kumail Nanjiani and Bryan Tyree Henry

Nanjiani and Henry won’t necessarily be the biggest star in this film (Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek are good for that). Still, it’s hard to not be hella excited for these two. Both actors have proven that they’re ready to jump into the superstar stratosphere and are sure to steal any scenes they’re in. 

A group of superheroes led by two women, with a Pakistani American and African American among the ranks is definitely a squad that shouldn’t be f*cked with. Not to be overlooked though, is director Chloe Zhao, who will be offering up some much-needed diversity behind the camera as well.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Simu Liu and Awkwafina

When Marvel gave us Black Panther it was a breath of fresh air for black Marvel fans everywhere. With Shang-Chi, Asian American fans can rejoice similarly. Don’t get it twisted though, Shang-Chi, like Black Panther, won’t just be a movie for a specific demographic.

Fans of all backgrounds and ethnicities will show up in waves to see this and would be foolish not to.

Thor: Love and Thunder – Natalie Portman Taika Waititi, and Tessa Thompson

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Bringing back Taika Waititi for Thor 4 was a genius move by Marvel. The Kiwi writer/director revived the Thor series with Ragnorok, which was low key the funniest Marvel movie to date.

The big surprise though was the announcement that Natalie Portman would be returning as Lady Thor. Waititi is sure to have some more tricks up his sleeve to make Thor 4 one of the hottest movies in the MCU.

Another highlight: The film will confirm Valkyrie’s (Tessa Thompson) status as the first openly LGBTQ superhero in the MCU.

Blade – Mahershala Ali

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Did you think we just weren’t going to mention Mahershala? This was the biggest surprise of the weekend and easily the dopest drop Marvel could’ve given us.

Forget the Fantastic Four; forget the X-Men; Blade was the big Marvel reboot we all needed. And there is not one person on Earth more fit for the role than Mahershala Ali. 

Along with his two Oscars, Ali brings the swag and charisma necessary to make this film a home run. No release date, no director attached, no other actors announced, no problem. Mahershala is all we need.

This commitment to diverse casts, creatives, and stories highlights a new shift for Marvel. One that we’ve been waiting for from the studio for years.

Movies reflect the world in which we live. And it’s about damn time that the biggest movies in the world reflect the beautifully diverse society that we have today.

Peep the complete list of MCU Phase 4 movies to drop below: