Randall Park (Fresh Off The Boat) has joined the cast of Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp, which will see him acting opposite Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the titular heroes. But it’s Park’s role that has people speculating about the future of the MCU, because it turns out he’ll be playing legendary S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jimmy Woo.
Why does this matter?
Well, in addition to be one of the most positive (if relatively obscure) Asian-American characters in Marvel history, he also technically pre-dates Marvel itself. He originally debuted in the 1950s in Atlas Comics, Marvel’s predecessor, fighting a mysterious Fu Manchu-esque villain named Yellow Claw. Starting out as an FBI agent, he was later reintroduced in Marvel Comics in the 1960s and joined S.H.I.E.L.D. There has been a lot of retconning through the years, and his presence in Marvel comics waxed and waned, and honestly a lot of it is convoluted and I probably won’t do it justice.
But then came Agents of Atlas in 2006. In this series, Jimmy Woo ends up taking over the Atlas Foundation as Yellow Claw’s successor. See, it turns out that Atlas is a secretive society that is a continuation of the Mongol Empire, and is always ruled by a descendant of Ghengis Khan. Yellow Claw was one, and he’s been testing Jimmy to make sure he’s worthy to be the next. So Woo takes the job, and revamps the evil organization to try and help humanity rather than dominate it. To do so, he works with some of his teammates from the good ol’ days, including Venus (a siren), Namora (Namor the Sub-Mariner’s cousin), a robot, an alien, and a dude called Gorilla-Man (he’s exactly what you’re imagining).
Oh and also Jimmy Woo was de-aged and doesn’t remember what happened to him in the past 50 years or so. NBD.
This team went on to take part in Marvel’s big crossover events like Secret Invasion and Dark Reign, and brought a retro-adventure vibe back to the comics. And while I’m not sure Agents of Atlas will be joining the next phase of the MCU, Woo is a great character and it’s nice to see Marvel bringing in some of those diverse deep cuts.
Besides, if this is step one to getting Gorilla-Man in a movie, I’m all for it.