Changes are afoot in the Marvel Universe. Writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman are reintroducing Thor as a woman in October. The very next month, writer Rick Remender and artist Stuart Immonen will transform African-American superhero The Falcon into Captain America in the pages of All New Captain America #1. Should fans and investors cheer the moves, and what other superheroes are due for a makeover?
Guest host Alison Southwick put these question to Fool analysts Nathan Alderman and Tim Beyers in this episode of 1-Up On Wall Street, The Motley Fool's web show in which we talk about the big-money names behind your favorite technology, movies, toys, video games, comics, and more.
Comics fans can't be too surprised by the moves, especially with the new Ms. Marvel book featuring a young Muslim woman as the central character. That the first issue of that series has gone to a sixth printing -- a rare feat in comics -- speaks to readers' hunger for diversity.
How Marvel Studios will address those fans and others like them isn't entirely clear. Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has all but cornered the market for strong female action leads with The Hunger Games series and now Divergent. Meanwhile, Captain America: The Winter Soldier star Chris Evans is under contract for three more movies, including next summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron. As great as Anthony Mackie was as The Falcon in Winter Soldier, he won't be replacing Evans anytime soon. Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor on the big screen, has three films left on his deal.
Is there anything in the works? Time Warner (NYSE:TWX.DL) apparently has a Wonder Woman solo movie slated for July 2017. Marvel could respond with a Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson in the title role. Or, If Joss Whedon gets his wish, we'll see Battlestar Galactica star Katee Sackhoff joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point. Here he is tweeting about the possibility in response to Thor's forthcoming gender switch:
A female Thor? What the hell makes them think THAT would be cool? pic.twitter.com/Tg2Ti8PIOo— Joss Whedon (@josswhedon) July 15, 2014
For investors in the big studios, what matters is that billions are flowing into box office tales of powerful heroines. That's good news for all sorts of deserving yet historically ignored characters. Telling their stories in Marvel movies could create a windfall for Disney, while also opening the door to the sort of radical character reinvention we're seeing now in the comics.
So which superhero would do best with a big-screen switcheroo? Click the video to get Nathan and Tim's ideas, and then leave a comment to let us know whether you think the changes in the Marvel Universe will be good for Disney's business. You can also follow us on Twitter for more segments and regular geek news updates!