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Asian Superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Growing up, I’m really a huge fan of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). To be honest, Marvel is a huge part of my life. It’s pretty easy to stan heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Spider-Man. However, seeing someone who kind of looks like you has the same beliefs as you and has the same culture as you was pretty challenging in the early years of the MCU. The majority of the MCU is set in the US, which explains why the franchise focuses more on Western storylines and characters. Marvel has introduced its fans to Asian characters and superheroes little by little despite the Western focus in various projects.

In line with the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, I’ve decided to compile a list of Asian superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including their appearances (both past and future). Who knows, maybe you might find your next favorite Marvel superhero on the list?


Appearance: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

尚氣 Xu Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is the son of Wenwu/Mandarin. The Ten Rings organization trains him since he was a child. He is a martial artist and uses a staff in combat. He has enhanced his skills with the help of the Ten Rings. In his solo film, he attempts to escape his father’s shadow and be his own person. In the comics, he is a member of the Agents of Atlas. So far, it’s still unclear where he will appear next, but for sure, he is going to be a mainstay of the MCU.


Appearance: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Daisy Johnson/Quake (Chloe Bennet) is one of my favorite Marvel heroes. She is an Inhuman who has the power to manipulate vibrations. She is also an unmatched hacker. Her parents are Jiaying and Calvin Johnson. She grew up at St. Agnes Orphanage in New York with another favorite hero of mine, Matthew Murdock/Daredevil. She goes by the name Skye in the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson later recruits her to be part of his team. In the second season, she becomes an Inhuman by undergoing terrigenesis and uncovers her real identity. She is labeled as the “Destroyer of Worlds.” She is one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU ever to exist. With the season 7 finale, we see Daisy with the man out of time, Daniel Sousa, and her time-displaced sister, Kora. They take on space missions and are known as the “Astro Ambassadors.” Many fans have speculated that they are now Agents of S.W.O.R.D., but it isn’t confirmed yet. There are a lot of rumors surrounding Daisy Johnson/Chloe Bennet’s much-awaited return to the MCU, including Secret Invasion and Secret Warriors.


Appearances: Ms. Marvel and The Marvels

Similar to Daisy Johnson, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is an Inhuman. She is a Muslim Pakistani-American. She originates from New Jersey. She operates under the name, Ms. Marvel. Kamala is a fangirl of the Avengers especially Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. Just like any normal teenager, she writes fanfiction. She becomes an Inhuman after being exposed to terrigen mist. Her powers include the ability to shapeshift and stretch her body. In her upcoming series, Kamala also has the ability to create purple constructs. With her additional powers, she can create objects such as a shield and dagger, which she can use to fight her opponents. After her debut in her solo series on Disney Plus, she is set to reprise her role in The Marvels together with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau.


Appearances: Ant-Man and the Wasp and WandaVision

Agents James “Jimmy” Woo is a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. He is currently working for the FBI. He was first introduced in the second Ant-Man film wherein he was the parole officer of Scott Lang. He was also tasked to hunt down Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne for defying the Sokovia Accords. In the present day MCU, he is one of the agents working on the Westview anomaly. He is working together with Monica Rambeau and Darcy Lewis in uncovering the truth about the anomaly. The “New Bus Kids”/”Hexagang” is able to crack the mystery. They discover the hidden agenda of the acting director of S.W.O.R.D. and help Wanda Maximoff with her situation.


Appearance: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Kora (Dianne Doan) is the half-sister of Daisy Johnson. She is raised by Jiaying. Kora is an Inhuman with the ability to manipulate a highly versatile form of energy. During her terrigenesis, she is unable to control herself. In the main MCU timeline, she died, which explains her absence for most of Daisy’s life. However, due to the interference of the Chronicoms and the villain, Nathaniel Malick, Kora survives in an alternate timeline. She starts off as a villain. Fortunately, she has a change of heart after Daisy talked some sense into her. In the series finale, Kora is pivotal in defeating the Chronicoms and Nathaniel Malick. Later on, she becomes a new recruit. In the present day MCU, she joins the Astro Ambassadors. She is also a pilot of Zephyr Three.


Appearance: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Cavalry is here. Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) is a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. Operative. She is friends with Nick Fury, Natasha Romanoff, and Jimmy Woo. She is also the love interest of Agent Phil Coulson. She is the best pilot you could have asked for. She quit field duty for quite some time after the Bahrain incident. However, she returns to the field when Phil Coulson was assembling his team. Little did Coulson know that Fury tasked May to stay by his side. She becomes a maternal figure to the agents. In the present day MCU, she decides to be a professor at Coulson Academy. Ming-Na Wen is currently busy with her role as Fennec Shand in the Star Wars universe, but as a huge Marvel fan, I’m hoping that she returns as well to the MCU via Secret Invasion.


Appearance: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Doctor Helen Cho (Claudia Kim) is a prominent geneticist who appeared in the second Avengers film. She lends a hand in the research conducted by the Avengers. Doctor Helen Cho also treats a heavily-injured Clint Barton. She is crucial in the film for Ultron brainwashed her to create a new body using the Regeneration Cradle. Fortunately, Wanda Maximoff frees her. She has a near-death experience after being released by Wanda. We last see her in the New Avengers facility as their resident geneticist. A future appearance for Doctor Cho is uncertain in the MCU.


Appearance: Runaways

Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano) is one of the most beloved members of the Runaways and another favorite of mine. She is the daughter of Robert Minoru and Tina Minoru. Due to the death of her sister, she shifts to a goth aesthetic. She practices witchcraft. She also has several abilities, such as karate and acrobat. With the help of the Staff of One, a magical weapon, Nico can perform spells, manipulate elements, fly, track people and objects, and create barriers. She can also draw power from the Dark Dimension. With this, Nico can levitate, teleport, summon and create shockwaves. Thus Nico Minoru joins the ranks of the most formidable magic users of the MCU with Wanda Maximoff, Doctor Strange, Agatha Harkness, Loki, and Sylvie. So far, there is no news or rumors regarding Nico Minoro/Lyrica Okano’s return to the MCU. However, Lyrica Okano is reprising her role as Nico Minoru in the upcoming Midnight Suns video game by lending her voice. I’m still hoping that she has a cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or any MCU project.


Appearances: Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and The Defenders

Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) is definitely one of the fan-favorites in the Netflix side of the MCU. She is a skilled martial artist who used to be working for the organization Hand. While managing Chikara Dojo, she befriends Danny Rand/Iron Fist. Her loyalty is tested. She chooses to side with Iron Fist instead of the Hand. They head to K'un-Lun, a mystical city, but they discover that it has been destroyed. They join forces with the Defenders to stop the Hand once and for all. With the positive reception of Henwick’s portrayal of the character, she is supposed to star in a spinoff with Simone Missick as Misty Knight. Unfortunately, the series did not happen. With the hype around Shang-Chi, it wouldn’t be bad to bring back Colleen Wing to the MCU.


Appearances: Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Wong (Benedict Wong) is a close friend of Doctor Strange. He is a master of the mystic arts. He was trained by The Ancient One in Kamar-Taj. He assumes the position of the protective keeper when a group of zealots stole a mystical book. He assists Doctor Strange and gives him advice from time to time. Wong also helped a few of the Avengers when the Black Order invaded New York City during Infinity War. In addition, Wong was present in the final battle of Endgame. He is crucial for he was one of the people who transported the Avengers to the battlefield. He uses the Wand of Watoomb to channel energy and a sling ring which allows him to open portals. Wong owns Phase 4 of the MCU by appearing back-to-back in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Other Asian characters such as Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), Tina Minoru (Brittany Ishibashi), Robert Minoru (James Yaegashi), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), 文武 Xu Wenwu/Mandarin (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), 夏令 Xu Xialing (Meng'er Zhang), Jiang Nan (Michelle Yeoh), Katy (Awkwafina), etc., also exist in the MCU. On the other hand, in Marvel Comics, Pearl Pangan/Wave and the Triumph Division are just a few Filipino Marvel characters. Marvel Studios is working hard to ensure that the MCU is a diverse environment, and everyone is perfectly represented. Rumor has it that Marvel Studios is developing an Agents of Atlas series, and a sequel to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is already in the works. There is also an ongoing social media campaign to bring Marvel’s first Filipino heroine, Wave, to the MCU.

Seeing Asian superheroes in pop culture affects the way we see ourselves. We feel comfortable with sharing our opinions. We feel comfortable with our culture. We feel comfortable with our identity. We can definitely look up to someone with who we can resonate. It also breaks stereotypes. At the same time, it can build bridges between gaps.

Come on, guys! It’s already 2021! Representation matters.

Happy Shang-Chi Day!!



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