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Following her very strong and heartfelt performance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as ambitious resistance fighter Rose Tico and lending her voice to the title role of Raya and the Last Dragon (she played Raya, not the dragon, to be clear), Kelly Marie Tran has officially earned her place among the Disney family. Thus, it seems only natural that a part in the Marvel movies should be the next big career venture for the 32-year-old Vietnamese-American actress. In fact, I have six characters ripped from the comics whom Tran would be the perfect candidate to bring to life on the big screen, starting with one who knows her way around a tangled web.
When Booksmart director Olivia Wilde was tapped to helm a Sony Marvel movie, fans immediately began to speculate that Spider-Woman was coming to the big screen finally. What would soon follow after that speculation over which female webslinger would be the specific focus of this new story. While there are many who want to see Daisy Ridley play fan favorite Jessica Drew, I have another idea in mind for her Star Wars movies co-star.
Introduced in 2014, Cindy Moon was just a normal, Korean-American young woman (save her eidetic memory) until she was bitten by the same spider that turned her classmate Peter Parker into a superhero. She would take the same route, under the alias Silk, after breaking free from Ezekiel Sims, who took her away from her parents to train her to properly use her powers. Hers is a story that is as dark and inspiring as the heroic personas Kelly Marie Tran has previously played in the Star Wars movies and in the animated Raya and the Last Dragon in the title role.
There is another Marvel hero whose origin makes that of Silk, Rose, and Raya combined seem as light as a Dora the Explorer episode. Robert and Jane Takahama’s dream to provide their daughter, Helen, with a better life was cut short on the day of her 15th birthday when the couple was murdered by Onslaught (an evil split personality living within X-Men’s Professor Charles Xavier), who then destroyed her home and surrounding neighborhood attempting to take over Earth. Soon after, Helen was captured by mad Nazi scientist Arnim Zola, who began to conduct experiments on her that her made faster, stronger, and filled with energy.
That energy was, quite literally, a natural bioelectric field that allows Helen to shock enemies with a touch and endow her with agility strong enough to move at superhuman speeds and distances. Taking on the name Jolt, the hero became a member of Thunderbolts (how fitting, right?), among other notable superhero teams. Perhaps if Kelly Marie Tran is cast as her for the big screen, we could see her join the Avengers.
On the other hand, maybe this darkness Kelly Marie Tran has portrayed (which I am still interested to see in upcoming superhero movies) is a sign that heroism is not for her in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or even in Sony’s mouthful of a cinematic universe, perhaps). In fact, a role to help further awaken her dark side may be opening up in the MCU very soon.
One of the most notorious enemies of the Black Widow is known as the Black Lotus (since her actual name still remains a mystery to the public). She is an extremely qualified and typically reliable assassin noted for possessing martial arts skill so advance that she rarely, if not ever, requires the assistance of using any weaponry on missions. The chance of Kelly Marie Tran taking on Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff is likely a lost cause, but if the rumors that Florence Pugh will assume her role in the MCU after Black Widow is true, I say sign her up for the sequel.
Actually, there may be another Marvel villain whom Kelly Marie Tran would be ideal to play who has an even better chance of appearing in future MCU installments. Not to mention, if the goal here is to bring out the actress’ bad side, few ladies in the Marvel Comics universe match up with this mutant in that particular respect. It also helps that she is part-cyborg.
Now, (with the exception of that last detail) some may think of Yuriko Oyama (better known as Lady Deathstrike) as the female equivalent of Wolverine due to her regenerative healing, Adamantium skeleton, and retractable, razor sharp fingernails. It may also be because their only exposure to the character is Kelly Hu’s portrayal in X2: X-Men United from 2003. Perhaps it is time to give her backstory a proper explanation on the big screen (or small screen, as the Disney+ Marvel TV shows have done well), which is possible now that the X-Men property is set to be rebooted by Marvel Studios soon enough.
However, if there is one female character of Asian descent who is most deserving of a second chance in the X-Men movies, it is Jubliation Lee. Jubilee for short, this Chinese-American mutant likes to refer to her powers as “fireworks,” - more accurately described as globes of colorful energy bright enough to blind her enemies. Yet, even if she were to do this on accident to a friend, they could never be mad at her, due to her irresistibly bubbly personality.
Fans were really excited when Lana Candor was cast as Jubilee in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, only to discover that her role was limited to, basically, not much more than a cameo. The To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before star has said that she would love to reprise the character for a more fleshed out portrayal, but I would not be surprised if Marvel Studios were to go another route. Besides, Kelly Marie Tran is already a full fledged member of the Disney family and would surely be great fit to do Jubilee justice for the reboot.
Do you think that Kelly Marie Tran is the right person to give Jubilee the justice she deserves on the big screen? If not, is there a Marvel character you would rather see the actress bring to life?
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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