women fists raised in air

Daisy Johnson & The Erasure of Marvel's First Asian Superhero


As a massive nerd, San Diego Comic Con is one of the events that I look forward to most during the year (even though I most definitely cannot afford it). For many avid Marvel fans like myself, SDCC 2019 was anxiously awaited due to the lack of certainty regarding future Marvel projects following the release of Avengers: Endgame. Of course, Marvel did not disappoint with their content. Not only was Phase 4 of the MCU revealed, but we were also treated to new TV shows. One of the most noteworthy announcements, however, was the release date of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the movie debut of the classic Marvel superhero, Shang-Chi. 

Fans immediately took to Twitter to express their excitement at the prospect of Marvel’s first Asian superhero, which is undoubtedly a major step forward in a predominantly caucasian film genre. What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that Shang-Chi is not Marvel’s first Asian superhero to be seen outside of comic books. That title belongs to Daisy Johnson.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D premiered on September 24, 2013 — over a year after the release of The Avengers. Throughout the first season, the writers played it safe by constantly name-dropping various characters in the MCU and not straying too far from canon. Because of this, it was met with mixed reviews upon its initial release. It wasn’t until halfway through the first season (when that HYDRA bomb gets dropped) that the show really began to pick up speed and become its own entity. But even with its rocky start, there was a breakout star that always lifted the show up: Chloe Bennet.

Bennet is no stranger to racism in Hollywood. Bennet is a Chinese-American actress who was born Chloe Wang, but chose to legally change her surname to Bennet after experiencing prejudice in the film industry, due to her more ethnic name. You can imagine her excitement when she was cast as one of the leads on a major network TV show instead of being typecast for her race, but even she probably didn’t realize just how important her character would become. 

Daisy Johnson began her character arc in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as a homeless hacker named Skye, who had little knowledge of her background. Even when the show was still finding its footing, Skye’s character was one of the constant positives that the show had on its side. Over the seasons, Skye uncovered her past (and her real name, Daisy Johnson) and her powers were released, revealing her to be the superhero Quake. It would literally take me a full novel to describe how badass Daisy Johnson is, so here’s a clip from Chloe’s Instagram to give you an idea of just how cool she is.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi8ILjqHz6k/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_camle=" background:#FFFFFF; line-height:0; padding:0 0; text-align:center; text-decoration:none; width:100%;" target="_blank">

View this post on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi8ILjqHz6k/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_camle=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Fight. Like. A. Girl. Five seasons of kicking ass. All leads to tonight. Season 5 finale. Tune in. #agentsofshield

A post shared by https://www.instagram.com/chloebennet/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campale=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Chloe Bennet (@chloebennet) on

It's honestly a crime that Daisy Johnson hasn't received a solo movie, but what's even worse is the fact that so few people even know that she exists. While the show's viewers have steadily gone down over the seasons, the storylines themselves have only improved. Daisy Johnson isn't the only incredible character, but her erasure in pop culture is the most disappointing. Remember the impact that Wonder Woman had on young girls who had never seen themselves represented in the superhero genre? Imagine what it would be like for Chinese girls and other people of Asian descent to see a hero as strong and complex as Daisy Johnson. By practically erasing Daisy Johnson from Marvel canon, Marvel is losing one of their best characters and one of the few examples of incredible Asian representation in Hollywood.