Recently, a few films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have offered representation for many groups who are frequently neglected by Hollywood, particularly larger series. “Captain Marvel” (2019) made history by becoming the first MCU film to have a female protagonist. The marketing for “Black Panther” (2018) was likewise heavily focused on the film’s status as a Black superhero film, interweaving itself with Black identity through costume design and soundtrack creation by Black musicians. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (2021) used a similar strategy, with most of the marketing and narrative centered on the main character’s Asian heritage.
Allowing these films to be celebrations of a certain identity is a fantastic approach for Marvel to make the portrayal significant. However, while the MCU has done its best to reflect our world as a whole, it has scrimped on Latinx representation. The few characters that have appeared are unlikely to have their own feature-length picture; while everyone would like a Michael Pea Luis trilogy, it is unlikely to happen. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, let’s look at which Marvel comic book characters might become the MCU’s first Latinx lead.
Miles Morales, nicknamed Ultimate Spider-Man, is a 13-year-old Afro-Latinx from Brooklyn, New York on Earth 1610. He gets bitten by a radioactive spider and is subsequently endowed with abilities comparable to the original Spider-Man, including camouflage, stun blasts, and superhuman strength and agility. In his world, Peter Parker is dead, and Morales is forced to take on the mantle of Spider-Man.
Miles’ potential as a key character in an MCU live-action feature is exciting. For starters, the Miles Morales character has gained enormous popularity as a result of the animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018) and the video game “Spider-Man” (2018), in which he was a major character.
Miles, as a Black character, also represents a segment of the Latinx community that is all too often overlooked, and his portrayal demonstrates to audiences that being Black and Latinx is not mutually incompatible.
The main drawback to a Miles Morales-starring MCU film is Marvel’s partnership with Sony. It’s unclear what is and isn’t authorized between the two studios. However, given Miles Morales’ recent success, it would not be unexpected if the character was off-limits. This seems even less plausible given that “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2” is set to be released next year. It’s not impossible, though, and fans across the world may hope to see the youthful web-slinger on the big screen soon.
Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara)
If Sony refuses to let Marvel utilize Morales, perhaps it will allow the use of a lesser character from the same narrative. Miguel O’Hara was born on Earth-928, some decades in the future and much after the original Spider-prime. Man’s Miguel gained his spider abilities by fusing his DNA with that of a spider after his employers at the business Alchemax attempted to murder him.
Miguel’s Mexican ancestry is more prominent in the cartoons than his half-Irish ancestry. Using Spider-Man 2099 to create a film with a Latinx lead while also exposing mainstream fans to an area of the Marvel world that has yet to be explored maybe a stroke of brilliance for Marvel. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017), and even “Shang-Chi” (2021) are all examples of Marvel not being afraid to go out on a limb and produce movies about the stranger elements of the comic book canon.
With the next several films establishing the universe, there is clearly a link to Miguel’s version of Earth. A film starring Miguel as he battles futuristic or robotic versions of well-known superheroes seems like a fantastic cinematic experience.
Falcon (Joaquin Torres)
If Marvel wants to have a lead for their first Latinx film, they might look to a previously existing character in their canon. Joaquin Torres appears in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (2021) as an Airforce operative and Sam Wilson’s buddy. By the end of the series, Sam has given up his identity as Falcon and has become Captain America. While the program does not reveal who will take over as Falcon, the comics, where Joaquin Torres becomes Falcon after Sam Wilson becomes the next Captain America, provide some clue.
Joaquin Torres was born in Mexico and moved to the United States when he was six years old with his mother and grandmother. His admiration for the Mexican American population, particularly Mexican immigrants, had an important role in shaping his personality. His genesis narrative is really linked to putting an end to violence against Latinx immigrants attempting to cross the border, as the evil corporation Malus was kidnapped and experimenting on them. A film starring Torres and addressing issues of immigration and prejudice would be an excellent example of Marvel’s inclusion. They’ve already created the persona; all they have to do now is pull the trigger.