UPDATE: Learn about the New Thor, Captain America & SUPERIOR Iron Man!
About two years ago, Marvel Comics made a major shift in approach with their Marvel NOW! reboot. While alterations to teams like The Avengers and The X-Men were officially cited as being done to offer new readers an easy jumping-on point for the Marvel comic book universe, unofficially it was clear that roster changes and the re-positioning of certain characters (see: Rocket Raccoon) was meant to better align the comics with what fans experience through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, two years is a long time in the entertainment business. Now, as Marvel Studios gears up for films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and the subsequent Phase 3 initiative (which is expected to launch some wildly different superhero properties), it seems another comic book shift is in order to once again help the Marvel Universe (from comic page to movie screen) better fit with the times and market. As Marvel NOW! approaches its two-year anniversary, and Phase 2 of the MCU enters the final stretch, the biggest discussion amongst the fanbase has become diversity – or lack thereof. Superhero movies continue to earn bank, yet minority or female or gay characters are not the ones standing in the spotlight. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Hawkeye… Take away Black Widow and The Avengers team quickly looks like a white guy frat party.
Even DC Comics is trying to overcome a diversity problem; for months it’s been speculated that the unexpected casting choices for Batman V Superman could have something to do with adding more international flavor to that lily-white team of heroes. Exotic-looking Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, Israeli Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, black stage actor Ray Fisher as Cyborg – clearly Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are angling for a Justice League that is more suited to the realities of earning box office profits in a global market. …But back to Marvel.
In an article by EW, we learn the full span of the changes that The Avengers roster is going through as part of the Avengers NOW! relaunch; big changes that Marvel has been slowly unveiling in big, attention-grabbing media stunts. First we learned that a new female Thor will be introduced; then last night on The Colbert Report Marvel announced that Sam Wilson (a.k.a. Falcon) is the new Captain America – or as Colbert joked, “Captain African-America.” Completing the transformation of “The Big Three” will be Iron Man, who will get a new Apple-style armored suit, while Tony Stark takes on a new (and maybe not so wholesome) role in the Marvel Universe.
But that’s not all: some other changes are in store – changes that could have far-reaching effects on the Marvel Cinematic Universe…