We’re all celebrating the DC Extended Universe’s latest film, Wonder Woman. The Patty Jenkins-helmed actioner is not only being celebrated for being the first DCEU film that truly succeeds across the board, but also for its fierce representation of badass female characters.
However, there have been some criticisms of the film that it was light on characters of color, particularly among the Amazons. I still enjoyed it, but I can see where a lot of those criticisms are coming from. Though characters like Artemis and Philippus were in the film (played by Ann Wolfe and Ann Ogmobo), we never got time to focus on them and they didn’t get more than a few lines. In a sequel to Wonder Woman, I would like to see more Amazons of color – and more focus on the ones we already have.
But another thing that worries me about Wonder Woman is that I fear this will only be a victory for white women. The film’s star, Gal Gadot, is Caucasian (despite several people’s insisting that she isn’t). But not only that, the next big superhero film will be Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios’s entry into the ring, which stars Brie Larson – yet another white actress. And having background characters of color isn’t enough, not in today’s tense climate regarding women of color. So here’s a list of female characters of color that I not only want to see in live action at some point, but who I feel deserve their own films.
Storm has been begging for a solo film since her inception. If you ask me, she has never been done right by Hollywood. She’s always been cast as too light-skinned (I love you Halle Berry, but let’s be honest here) and not African enough. In an age where a Black Panther film exists, I see no reason why Fox can’t go ahead and give us a Storm film that stars a dark-skinned actress and has an exclusively Black female creative team. Go back to the character’s roots. It sucks that we’ll never get to see the character’s most iconic storyline, her wedding to T’Challa, because Marvel doesn’t own the rights to her, but as long as they do right by her, I won’t mind that so much.
Also: surely visual effects have gotten to the point where she can fully showcase her powers in live action (which is another thing Hollywood still hasn’t gotten right).
On the DC side, Vixen has also always been mishandled by adaptations. She was horribly done on the CW, and she, too, was cast as way too light-skinned. I imagine Rutina Wesley as the character, who does a brilliant job as Nova Bordelon on OWN’S Queen Sugar. Beautiful model who isn’t afraid to voice her political opinions by day, superhero by night. I think that the film sets itself up easily. Vixen has even been associated with the Suicide Squad in the past, so if DC was looking to add more female characters to that roster after Wonder Woman’s success, here’s your chance to introduce Vixen.
Sure, her power set is a little confusing for general audiences. I mean, she conjures the spirit of animals to aid her in combat. Which is why I think they could just go full-on shapeshifter with the character, and make her into someone who not only uses animals’ powers, but turns into them when she desperately need to. It’s campy, but hey, who cares? Vixen deserves a live action counterpart.
#3. Kamala Khan.
Come on, Marvel. We ALL know Kamala is just as popular as Carol Danvers. She might even be more popular. But since Captain Marvel is already getting her own film, starring a white actress, I motion we move Kamala to TV. Not the CW or ABC, but Netflix. I think she could fit in with the Netflix heroes while also adding some much-needed power to the roster, and star power at that.
Here’s the scoop on Kamala, if you’re not familiar with her. She’s a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who has to keep her secret identity from her parents, because they won’t approve of her vigilantism. She has super strength and super hearing, and is a polymorph, meaning she can change the shape and consistency of her body for the occasion (who wouldn’t want that ability, right)? She can also shapeshift into different people, and look how she chooses. Her abilities could be a little cheesy in live action, but Marvel/Netflix have done a great job grounding their characters in realism, so I’m not worried about that. Plus, Kamala is just flat out hilarious. Who doesn’t want to see that?
It’s time for Kamala to have her own live-action counterpart. Let’s do this, Marvel!
Trying to keep things even here, Rocket is a character I’ve always been a fan of. She’s a Black girl who grew up in a very poor, rough environment. She always wanted to make a difference, save her family, and a man with powers very similar to Superman, Icon, was her idol. The two work together, and he gifts her her powers.
Rocket’s powers are very cool. She’s a telekinetic, meaning she can create energy projectiles and beams of light from her hands, similar to Green Lantern. She can fly. She can release kinetic energy as she throws a punch, which (obviously) makes her punches hurt. She can throw things at superhuman speeds, and she can create force fields to shield herself from any attack. She’s basically a mixture of Jean Grey and John Stewart.
I would love to see Rocket get her own movie, but realistically a TV series would also be good for the character. I could see it going to HBO, since DC has said they have plans to make some of their shows for the platform. Even DC’s streaming service, which has also acquired Teen Titans. But I think you could loop Rocket in as a fan of Henry Cavill’s Superman, and I think it would have the same effect.
#5. America Chavez.
America Chavez is the bisexual, Latina superhero we all need. She’s basically the Superman of the Marvel Universe: she’s extremely powerful, almost a little too powerful, and no one is quite sure what to do with her. And while I’m certain we’ll never get an America movie, there have been rumors that she might get her own show soon. And while I think a TV show for America would be very expensive, I also think that if Marvel is willing to spend the money on her, it could be worthwhile.
What do I mean by the Superman comparison? Well, America can fly. She’s got superstrength, X-ray vision, super speed, and is invulnerable to fire, bullets, and most human weapons. She can even create portals to teleport herself to places she doesn’t feel like flying to. Her powers are pretty amazing, and we’ve never seen a Marvel character with that degree of strength.
Plus, America is a snarky, hilarious character who would fit right in with the MCU’s love of humor. Please, give her a show, Marvel. We’d all thank you for it.
#6. Renee Montoya.
You may not be familiar with Renee, but she’s one of the best female characters I’ve read in recent memory. She’s the Question, a superhero whose power is her amazing investigation skills. She’s also enhanced in combat, a lot like Batman. In fact, speaking of Batman, she was able to deduce his secret identity without much effort.
Renee is a genius. She is able to solve almost any case put in front of her, and at her core she is a detective – a trait that’s always been assigned to Batman in the comics, but that he’s never fully embraced in lieu of his other aspects. I think an HBO series starring her would not only be thrilling, but it could fit with Hollywood’s recent trend of finding a genre to pin their comic book fare in. For example, Logan was a Western. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller. And The Question could be a mystery.
Renee is also not straight, and she’s been romantically involved with Batwoman in the comics. So that’s another bonus!
#7. Monet St. Croix, aka M.
Yet another awesome Muslim character here, M has always been neglected by not only the films, but the comics. Her power set is pretty standard – she can fly, she’s strong, she’s fast, she’s enhanced in combat. But she also has telekinesis, which is also standard, but the way she uses it is very cool and cinematic. She can read minds, and she can also erase minds if you’re not careful. Unlike most heroes, M is very pragmatic. She will kill if she has to, or if she feels the situation is going nowhere. She’s yet another strategist and detective, and I think it would be great to see her in her own film. Fox is looking for properties? Well, here’s one.
#8. Tanya Spears, aka Power Girl.
Tanya Spears is a Black scientist who is the second incarnation of Power Girl. She’s strong, powerful, and has a lot of the same abilities as Power Girl – only she’s enhanced by the fact that she’s a scientist. This character isn’t very well known, which makes this the perfect opportunity for the DCEU to introduce her to the world. I think she’s a great character and could stand on her own in a movie, perhaps getting just as much of a hero arc as Wonder Woman did. There’s even been hints that the character is Queer, which is something that would make us spark to her even more. Do it, DC!
Some Honorable Mentions: Riri Williams, the Black female Ironheart, obviously deserves her own movie. I think she should get it in the MCU, as soon as Iron Man retires. Nu’Bia, the Black Wonder Woman, I would also love to see in live action, but I don’t necessarily think she should have her own movie – it would feel too much like just the Black version of what we already have, unless they found a way to differentiate it. And of course, who could forget about Amanda Waller? I think an Amanda Waller spy flick could be interesting.
So there you have it. There are plenty of female characters of color who deserve their own film or TV series, and I’m just patiently waiting for Hollywood to realize these characters’ genius and adapt them.