Lauren Ridloff Becomes First Deaf Superhero in the MCU
Lauren Ridloff is making history by becoming Marvel's first Deaf superhero, in their newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Eternals, which is scheduled to come out in theaters Nov. 5. She'll play a reimagined version of Makkari, who was a white, muscular man in the comics.
In an interview about the changing of the original character, Ridloff said "I feel like they looked at Makkari and they said, 'Hey, let's make a new Makkari, and let's just make it everything that he is not.'"
Ridloff also spoke about how thrilled she is to have a platform that will hopefully raise awareness about Deaf communities around the world, especially in places where there aren't laws like the Americans With Disabilities Act. "it's going to make a massive impact," Ridloff said of Eternals. "The MCU has a global audience, and I can't even start to imagine how this is going to affect other communities throughout the world."
Ridloff spoke of the the success of Black Panther as being a turning point for Hollywood to incorporate more on-screen inclusion and representation. "I'm coming into this industry at a time where Hollywood is rethinking what it means for inclusivity," she said. "If you look at the movies before in the MCU catalog, there wasn't one superhero of color and with different abilities ... I think people nowadays are much more interested in the human aspect of those superheroes."
The Eternals is the most diverse superhero movie casting to date, which according to Angelina Jolie, playing Thena in the film, was entirely intentional to "help the actors connect with their characters". Eternals, focus on a group of immortal beings who have been guiding humanity's progress for thousands of years.
The cast of Eternals features many A-list actors from around the globe, who come from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Gemma Chan (English-Chinese) and Richard Madden (Scottish) will play Ikaris and Sersi the romantic leads for the film. They appear alongside comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani (Pakistani-American) as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos (who will have a husband), Lauren Ridloff as Makkari (Deaf actress), Barry Keoghan (Irish) as Druig, Don Lee (South Korean) as Gilgamesh, and Salma Hayek (Mexican-American) as Ajak, the spiritual leader of the Eternals, along with the previously mentioned Angelina Jolie.
The film was also directed by Academy Award for Best Picture winner, Chinese-born, Chloé Zhao.
Eternals follows the release of Black Widow, Marvel's second female led film and Shang-Chi, Marvel's first Asian led film. We're excited to see Lauren Ridloff shine in the MCU, along with all her cast members. We also hope for many more inclusive and diverse castings in not only the MCU movies to come, but in Hollywood in general.