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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been with us for over a decade now and, as time goes on, the franchise is evolving in different ways. Sure, the franchise is giving audiences bigger stories and more spectacle, but fans have also long been asked for more representation. Although it’s taken a while, it looks like the MCU is steadily moving towards more inclusivity. This includes bringing in great characters like Monica Rambeau, who was first played by Akira Akbar in Captain Marvel and then by Teyonah Parris on WandaVision. Now, ahead of her return in The Marvels, Parris is discussing what it’s like to help bring representation to the Marvel universe.
In past interviews, Teyonah Parris has spoken about her love for the MCU, which began when she first saw 2008’s Iron Man in theaters as a college student. So you’d think that she’d then make it her mission to join the growing comic book franchise at some point, right? Well, as Parris candidly explained to Variety, she wasn’t sure if there’d be an opportunity for a character like Monica Rambeau to enter the universe:
There was a bit of me that was like, ‘OK, good luck. I thought it was never going to happen because you don’t see those representations there. I didn’t know I would have the honor of being one of the few to start being that representation. I do wish that it was already there and that I was just continuing it forward. I wish those images in that representation had been there before me in the superhero space in a more vast way.
It’s easy to understand Teyonah Parris’ feelings on the matter. One can never underestimate what it means for audiences to see people like themselves on the big screen, especially in such a high-profile series like the MCU. While Parris would have loved to have had this kind of representation when she was young, she still finds comfort in the fact that she can inspire a new generation of viewers, especially young Black women.
Teyonah Parris’ grown-up Monica Rambeau made a major splash in WandaVision, with many fans hailing her as a highlight of the series. Following the events of that show, she has superpowers of her own and is in a position to be an MCU power-player moving forward. And in the same interview, Parris shared thoughts on having Rambeau grow even more in The Marvels:
First of all, I’m just such a fan of her as a human. Then you have her visual, very artistic eye on how a film feels with her. With Monica, we’ve established who she is in WandaVision, and in The Marvels, we have an opportunity to further understand who this woman is. Having a woman of color at the helm of furthering this story of one of the few super-powered female, African American beings, I think it’s really special.
It’s great to see that the MCU is bringing in characters that further reflect the world we live in. In addition to Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau, this year, fans saw Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson rise as the new Captain America, and they’ll soon be introduced to Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi. And let’s not forget Eternals, which will include people of color, a deaf hero and a character who’s a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
We can only hope that diversity and inclusion within the MCU will only expand from this point and that it will continue to produce layered characters like Monica Rambeau. It’ll be exciting to see what lies ahead for her when The Marvels opens on November 11, 2022. And be sure to check out her WandaVision debut on Disney+, which you can sign up for with the help of this link.