We Need an Asian Superhero

With their recent releases of Captain Marvel and Avengers: End Game, Marvel has been getting a ton of attention. Millions and millions of people from all around the world have viewed the latest Marvel movies and are inspired by the strong, brave, and heroic superheroes that they see on screen. Marvel has given us incredible male superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. They have also given us inspiring female superheroes like Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch. Marvel added even more diversity into the mix by creating the sensational film, Black Panther. Black Panther was a huge hit. Not only was Black Panther an incredible, action-packed film, but it also inspired so many people by bringing more diversity into the Marvel universe. So, Marvel has given its audience some diversity, but what is still missing?

Well, for starters, Marvel fans have yet to see an Asian superhero. While there is some talk about the creation of a Marvel film for the character Shang Chi, not too many people are thrilled to hear about it. Many claim that Shang Chi would not be a good first choice for an Asian superhero because he has no supernatural powers unlike his white co-star Danny Rand (also known as Iron Fist) and he is the son of the villain, Fu Manchu. Growing up as a young Asian girl (who has seen every single Marvel movie), I would have loved to be able to have an Asian superhero to look up to. I have always felt more empowered by heroes that I shared characteristics with. On top of that, I had friends throughout middle school and high school that would be able to say things like, “People tell me that I look like Black Widow,” or “Doesn’t my dad look just like Iron Man?!” These were thoughts that I could not relate to because none of the superheroes looked like me or anyone in my family.

Nowadays, Marvel and other superhero films serve as so much more than just action movies. Yes, the audience gets to enjoy some really awesome fight scenes, but on top of that, the audience gets to connect with the characters in the story and thrive to be as courageous and strong as the heroes on the screen. It is always easier to connect with characters that you can relate to and, because of the lack of Asian superheroes in modern-day films, it is difficult for Asians to feel as connected to superheroes as others can. Once an Asian superhero hits the screens, Asians from all around the world, young and old, will be able to connect to a new superhero in a way that they have never been able to connect to any of the other superheroes.

Image source: Porapak Apichodilok

Of course, this topic opens up a conversation about bringing even more diversity into the Marvel universe by making sure that all races, sexual orientations, and ages are being represented. I am hoping that as the Marvel universe continues to expand and the world becomes more progressive, we will begin to see a large range of diversity in superhero films, as well as in other types of films and media. Throughout my lifetime, I have come to realize the importance of representation in media and the impacts that the lack of representation can have on one’s self-esteem and image. While race representation is very important, it is not the only type of representation that is lacking in Hollywood and other types of media. Representation of various body types, sexual orientations, and disabilities also need to continue to be demonstrated in our modern-day media. Similar to the impact of adding an Asian superhero, many more types of people will be able to recognize themselves in and relate to superheroes, characters, and celebrities. Representation of all types of people in all forms of media will create many positive impacts on how people view the media and how they view themselves.

Image source: rawpixel.com