Ever since Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel launched at the tail end of the Infinity Saga, a certain subset of fans – colorfully and accurately described by Samuel L. Jackson – they were afraid that women are taking over the MCU. Well, I am happy to inform these people: it is true.
Although this has rarely happened, the Multiverse Saga has become increasingly obsessed with taking male characters from the comics and reimagining them as women. We all know that Marvel Studios was eager to diversify its roster of heroes, and villains, in meaningful ways in Phase One, especially after a few casting snafus in Phase Three (more on that in minutes).
So here are 10 Marvel characters who started out as male comic book characters but entered the MCU as women. And, you know what, in all but the first case it was unequivocally the right creative choice.
Tilda Swinton being cast as the Old Head i Doctor Strange is perhaps the MCU’s most controversial gender-swapped casting yet, although fans would probably be fine with the character still being portrayed as Asian. Kevin Feige rarely admits a mistake, and admitted that he regrets whitewashing the Old Man. “wake up call.”
Remember Ghost from Ant-Man and the Wasp? Well, the tragic villain was basically an original creation for the MCU, with little left but the comic book character’s name and intangible powers. Hannah John-Kamen’s Ava Starr is about to make a — we think — long-delayed comeback Thunderbolts film.
On paper, you’d think that Marvel would recast Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel in the comics and a major figure in Marvel lore, as a woman would cause a stir, but it seems Annette Bening is so good that no one has no mind with her. Or those people who want to complain about things like this decided to direct all their hate at Brie Larson instead. Actually, yeah, probably.
Say what you like about it Eternal, but Chloe Zhao’s divisive DC Marvel movie did an excellent job of diversifying a superhero team that’s basically a load of white guys on the page. First up, we have Salma Hayek as Ajak’s (shamefully underused) team leader.
Sprite, the youngest member of the outdoor Eternals, was another of the film’s characters to be reimagined as female, with Lia McHugh taking on the role. McHugh was good in the part, but that means an interesting note from Neil Gaiman Eternal comics – that Sprite was the inspiration for Peter Pan – was to be junked.
Makkari has to be the most prominent female Eternal male in the MCU, though. Lauren Midloff’s casting made the character so much more interesting that they are on the page. We have more than enough white male speedsters on our screens, thanks. I hope Makkari gets a chance to come back.
Although Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter is never called Captain Britain either What if…? or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, well, come on, just look at her outfit — clearly, that’s who she’s based on. It is worth noting, however, that it was Peggy Carter herself who nominated the original British Captain, Brian Braddock, in Avengers: Endgame. So watch this space.
Sonya Falsworth is technically an original character, as the slightly batty MI6 chief doesn’t have a direct counterpart in the comics, but she’s clearly inspired by James Montgomery Falsworth or Union Jack, so it’s right. Imagine if Secret Invasion that the eccentric Sonya Colman had not given us. None of us would make it to the finale. Actually, that might not be so bad.
Liz Carr played a supporting role in Loki season 2 as Judge Gamble, the head of TVA who became an ally of Loki and his friends. It was a very loose adaptation of a completely different comic book character – namely, Professor Gamble, who is basically Marvel’s thin echo of Doctor Who.
Pot of Gold
The next Marvel merchandise character is about to hit Deadpool 3, with Ryan Reynolds confirming that Dogpool will be part of the MCU’s epic next summer. In the comics, Dogpool is a male canine version of Wade Wilson from another universe. In the MCU, though, she’s a very good girl.
You would be forgiven for missing that Dar-Benn was a gender-swapped character, due to the fact that the comic book version is a complete non-entity, with only two appearances of his name. Zawe Ashton had free reign to do what she liked with the villain The Marvels — it is a pity that she was underwritten.
Bonus round: 1 character that the MCU transitioned from female to male
I The Marvels, of all places, the MCU turned to its usual trick of recasting a female character as a male character. And it may have cost us a high level villain!
In the Nia DaCosta sequel, Carol Danvers and her friends encounter the Skrull emperor Drogge, who is based on the Skrull colony planet Tarnax. Rather fly completely in light Secret Invasion (wasn’t the whole point of that show that they had no other planet to live on?) This was also vaguely surprising since Drogge isn’t the Skrull king in the comics. He’s the lead scientist on Skrull Queen Veranke, a villain who really deserves her shot in the MCU. Veranke’s erasure ends now, Marvel.
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