Angelina, ScarJo And The First LGBTQ Superhero: What Marvel Studio’s Phase 4 Means For Women

The new and old faces suiting up for the next wave of blockbusters


by Grazia |

This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame

The Marvel Universe's graphic novels have long been populated by powerful women, individuals who can control the weather, wield forcefields and bend matter to their will. But in the past two decades, attempts to interpret this power in film have often failed to do such characters justice. In the hands of director Bryan Singer, Halle Berry's storm was less meteorological goddess and more damp squib. Jessica Alba's Invisible Woman barely made an impression. And even Queen of The North Sophie Turner could not do justice to telekinetic Jean Grey's descent into the malevolent Dark Phoenix.

Women have fared better in the hands of In the hands of Marvel Studios, part of the Walt Disney Company, who have been responsible for bringing super women like The Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, The Wasp and Gamora to the screen, but even fans of the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame would have to admit that the film felt firmly centered around the men.

With this weekend's announcement of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4 at the annual Comic Con in San Diego, though, things are turning a corner, with the continuation of stories of many of the favourite women in the franchise, and the addition of some incredible talents to the roster. Here's what you need to know about the key women of Phase 4...

Angelina Jolie

It's about time one of the world's biggest stars became one of the world's most powerful entities. Angelina will be joining The Eternals, a comic-book staple which, until now, has gone under the radar for mainstream Marvel fans. She will play Thena, who possesses incredible strength, can fly, teleport, carries a bow and arrow and wears head-to-toe gold armour. No big deal.

Oscar-nominee Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh and Lauren Ridloff help make up the rest of the new line-up, with Bodyguard's Richard Madden also among the cast.

The announcement comes at a good time for Angelina, who has recently returned from a peaceful trip to Paris.

Scarlett Johansson

Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle and Rachel Weisz join Scarlett Johansson to talk Black Widow ©Getty Images

She's alive! Despite falling to her death in Avengers: Endgame, a sacrifice that enabled the resurrection of half of the world's population, Scarlett Johannson's Black Widow is returning to the big screen. She's still very much dead, though, so her first solo film is taking the prequel route.

Before saving the world, the character had a complicated history as a Russian assassin, so expect an origin story in the realm of the Bourne films of Jennifer Lawrence's recent Red Sparrow. She's joined by Florence Pugh - the British star currently screaming her way through horror hit Midsommar - and Oscar-winning Rachel Weisz.

Elizabeth Olsen

The little sister of billionaire twins Mary Kate and Ashley made a name for herself through her work as the Scarlet Witch, a sorceress who more than stood her ground against Endgame villain Thanos. She'll be back in 2021 in WandaVision, one of Marvel's more intriguing new series, but will also appear alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the sequel to Doctor Strange.

Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson

Natalie Portman holds her hammer aloft at Comic Con ©Getty Images

Natalie Portman stepped back from the Marvel franchise after Thor: The Dark World, appearing since only through archive images and recut footage. She played Jane Foster, Thor's scientist love interest, but now she's got the power, becoming Thor herself inn the next film. "I've always had a little hammer in me", she said with a smile at the announcement.

She will be joined in Thor: Love and Thunder by Tessa Thompson, who played Valkyrie in the super-fun Thor: Ragnarok and was made King (not Queen) of Asgard in Avengers: Endgame. Tessa announced that Valkyrie's first mission as King will be to find her Queen, establishing that the Marvel franchise will finally embrace a genuine LGBTQ character in a significant role.

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