This is really one of those good news/bad news scenarios. Buzzfeed exclusively revealed Marvel’s plans for a new multi-platform franchise centered around a diverse group of young heroes. Titled Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, the project will include a feature-length film plus some digital shorts. But it’s the list of characters that really has me fucking stoked: Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Miss America/America Chavez, Squirrel Girl, Daisy Johnson/Quake, Ghost-Spider (a.k.a. Spider-Gwen), Patriot, a couple of young Inhumans named Inferno and Exile, and CAPTAIN MARVEL HERSELF.
Oh — and also Lockjaw. Who is, as you know, a very good boy.
Awesome, right? So much awesome! An embarrassment of awesome! Which is why it’s sort of a shame that it’s going to be an animated franchise, rather than getting the kind of budget and attention that the live-action Marvel properties get.
Look, I get it. This is clearly a Teen Titans-esque project targeted at a younger generation of fans. And that’s great! Kids should be able to see fun, young, diverse heroes on screen, especially since so much of Marvel’s output is less than kid-friendly. This is a smart move. But there are a bunch of adult fans (*waves hand*) who have been waiting to see not just this level of diversity from Marvel, but literally THESE characters on screen. Like, hello: a Muslim-American hero AND an LGBTQ Latino-American character in the same place? That alone is amazing - not to mention the fact that the majority of the team is made up of women.
To be fair, I watch plenty of cartoons and will DEFINITELY watch this, so the fact that it’s animated isn’t necessarily a deterrent. And it’s not like this is some slapdash project, either. The voice cast is impressive in its own right, with actors from other Marvel properties plus some newcomers lending their talents. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Chloe Bennet will play Quake, naturally, while Ming-Na Wen will voice the villainous Hala. Milana Vayntrub, cast as Squirrel Girl in the upcoming New Warriors show, will voice the same character here. Tyler Posey (Inferno), Dove Cameron (Ghost-Spider), Kathreen Khavari (Ms. Marvel), Cierra Ramirez (Miss America), Kamil McFadden (Patriot), Booboo Stewart (Exile), and Kim Raver (Captain Marvel) round out the voice talent.
“We wanted to show the world that these heroes are important to the Marvel universe. That there is a character for every kind of Marvel fan out there,” says Sana Amanat, Director - Content & Character Development, in the below video. Which is sort of what bothers me. That statement is unquestionably true. So why isn’t it important enough for Marvel to make that a reality WITHIN the live-action MCU?
Whatever, I’ll take my Miss America where I can get her. And if this does well, who knows where we’ll see these characters popping up next. As it stands, this is a great thing that Marvel’s doing — and hopefully it’s just a sign of even bigger things to come.