Although the newest Marvel animation may be aimed at children, the new cast of characters shows a side of diversity unparalleled by Marvel in the past. Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors introduces a new generation of teenage superheroes that come from a variety of backgrounds and use their differences and super powers in their fight against evil.
The new gang of super teens represent different races, ethnicities, body images, and sexualities with a diverse voice cast to match it. Ms. Marvel, also known as Kamala Khan, is Marvel’s first Muslim superhero to headline her own comic book. She was originally created to act as a counterpart to Captain Marvel, who also appears in the movie. In her first feature film, Khan stands her own as she struggles with her Pakistani-American heritage and growing up in the state of New Jersey.
Adding her superhuman strength into the mix, America Chavez joins the Secret Warriors as well. Voiced by Cierra Ramirez, Chavez’s Hispanic background diversifies the group. Although the subject is not explored in the children’s film, Chavez’s bisexuality becomes known in her respective comic books. Perhaps eventually, this topic may become more commonplace and fans could see Chavez’s journey of identity as she travels through her teen years. Notable celebrities, such as Stephanie Beatriz, act as the human embodiment of Chavez and show support for the heroine on social media as she becomes more saturated in the public eye.
Voiced by Dove Cameron, Gwen Stacy breaks her role as the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued by Peter Parker as she becomes a superhero of her own. Spider-Gwen emerged when Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Parker and became the crime fighting hero of her universe. Secret Warriors shies away from typical stereotypes with their absence of women who need saving and instead include girls who can save themselves.
Breaking the mold of pin-up style female superheroes with tiny waists and big breasts, Squirrel Girl creates a different image of what it looks like to be a hero. Not conforming to typical body standards, Doreen Green allows more and more young girls to look up and see themselves in their favorite hero.
Ironheart, or Riri Williams, brings the brains to the group. At only fifteen years old, Williams rivaled the mind of Tony Stark, creating and utilizing her own version of Iron Man’s suit. The list of inspiring and talented youth highlighted in the movie go on and on. More notable celebrities, such as Booboo Stewart and Skai Jackson join the equally as impressive and diverse cast.
As more and more superheroes enter in the public eye, diversity becomes increasingly important. Being aimed at children, this movie provides hope that the superhero community will continue to grow and include more and more ethnicities, body types, races, and sexual orientations. More and more kids can now watch Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors and see themselves in a character, where perhaps they could not before. For older fans, this movie provides hope for the next generation of Marvel fans, who can grow up in a community that values all different backgrounds and kinds of characters. For the kids watching today, this movie provides hope for the future of the industry as Marvel and other large corporations recognize their downfalls in the past and work to correct their mistakes.