Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Powerful Black characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Despite a colossal lack of representation in the MCU, these characters shine through

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with just one movie, has now grown into an ever-expanding world of comic spectacles. However, even with its massive size, the MCU still struggles with proper representation, especially for the Black community. Marvel has made improvements in recent years, specifically with the inclusion of the Black Panther, but it still not near enough. Despite its lack of representation, the few Black superheroes and characters that ARE in the MCU are incredible and astoundingly dynamic. The following is a list of ten powerful Black characters in the MCU that allow for the entire franchise to be as successful as it is, in no particular order.

1.) Nick Fury

Nick Fury is as old as the MCU itself. Making his first appearance in the post credit scene of “Iron Man,” Fury nearly single handedly establishes the universe we know and love. He’s a super spy, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D and is credited with founding the Avengers Initiative, aka, bringing all your favorite heroes together to share the big screen. Without him, we wouldn’t have the Marvel Universe. Played to brilliance by Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Fury is a staple of the MCU. Fury is also finally getting his own Marvel project, “Secret Invasion” rumored to release later this year – and I can’t wait to see him at the helm.

2.Ben Urich

While not technically in the official MCU, Ben Urich makes his appearance on “Daredevil,” a Marvel show on Netflix. A fantastic reporter with a heart of gold, Urich is a lead character in the first season assisting Daredevil behind the scenes, not unlike a Commission Gordon to Batman. Portrayed by Vondie Curtis-Hall, Urich brings another layer of depth and humanity to the show when it needs it most. Not only that, yet he’s also funny, brilliant and kind, making him one of my personal favorite characters in the MCU.

3.Sam Wilson

Sam Wilson made his first appearance in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” as Captain America’s iconic sidekick, The Falcon. After the events of “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” he officially replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America, bringing representation in MCU to a whole new level. The show didn’t shy away from racial struggles, finally bringing heavier conversations to the forefront. Played by Anthony Mackie, Sam Wilson is a witty, strong and caring leader, everything the Marvel Universe needs. With a fourth Captain America film in the works with Wilson at the forefront, I have big hopes for the direction of the character in the future, and I know Mackie won’t disappoint.


Head of the Dora Milaje, aka Wakanda’s royal guard, Okoye is one of the most bad**s characters in the Marvel Universe. Choosing allegiance to her country over all else, even her husband, Okoye is one of the most dedicated and lethal characters to grace the screen. She shines in “Black Panther,” with her fighting skills, alongside her wit. Okoye doesn’t take anyone’s excuses, and is prepared to die for her king, T’Challa, in a heartbeat. Played by Danai Gurira, Okoye is rumored to have a larger role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and I sincerely hope we see more of her badassery on screen soon.

5.Monica Rambeau

Despite only having two appearances in the MCU, Maria Rambeau quickly became a favorite character. A lead personality in the Disney Plus show “Wandavision,” her daughter, Monica made it clear early on she would be a force in the MCU. She’s compassionate, cunning, and stands up to men in power, what more could you want? Played by Teyonah Parris, fans got to see Monica gain superpowers in the events of “Wandavision,” alongside an upcoming lead role in the next Captain Marvel movie, “The Marvels.” In the comics, Monica Rambeau is one of the most powerful Avengers, so her future in the Marvel Universe is looking very bright.

6.Luke Cage.

Although he has yet to make his official MCU appearance, Luke Cage, portrayed by Mike Colter, is a force to be reckoned with. With super strength and bulletproof skin due to a botched experiment, Luke Cage is one of the most fearless characters in the Marvel Universe. He only uses his powers for good, using his abilities to propel the less fortunate in his city of Harlem. He’s fiercely passionate about his community and the people he loves, making him a giant, scary yet loveable teddy bear. With Matt Murdock’s recent appearance in the MCU, his friend and fellow Defender, I have high hopes that Marvel will utilize the greatness that this character is in future projects.


Making her first appearance in “Thor Ragnarok,” Valkyrie is a member of Asgard’s special force of elite warriors, she has proved time and time again she’s got the skills to fight. Played by Tessa Thompson, she’s witty, not afraid of a challenge and deeply cares about the people she loves. She is also confirmed bisexual, standing as one of the only members of LGBTQ+ representation in the MCU. Recently appointed queen of New Asgard by Thor himself, I am excited to see where Marvel takes her character next.


Shuri, Princess of Wakanda, is one of the most intelligent characters in the Marvel universe. With her first appearance in “Black Panther,” she soon became a fan favorite due to her quick wit and incredible brain. She’s responsible for most of the incredible technology seen in Wakanda, and brings a younger, lighter presence to the screen. Played by Letitia Wright, Shuri is rumored to have a bigger role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and I’m hoping she continues to shine.

9.Clare Temple

Another character from Netflix’s Marvel productions, Clare Temple is the definition of showstopping. E.R nurse by day, and superhero healer by night, she’s the voice of reason that every vigilante needs. Despite having no superpowers of her own, she throws herself into harm’s way constantly, to try and keep other superheroes safe. Portrayed by Rosario Dawson, Clare proves that nurses are the real superheroes. She’s not afraid to tell it like it is, and I sincerely hope Marvel brings her back soon.


Last but not least, M’Baku was my favorite character to come out of “Black Panther.” While I do love King T’challa, M’Baku provided another layer of depth and humor the film needed. Leader of the Jabari tribe in Wakanda, M’Baku puts aside his own desire for the throne to help T’Challa in his fight against Killmonger. M’Baku is incredibly strong, incredibly funny, and incredibly loyal to his country. Played by Winston Duke, I am very hopeful we’ll see M’Baku back in the MCU soon.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].


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