It was actually not until 2020 when the 34-year-old Kansas City, Kansas, native (born Janelle Monáe Robinson) landed her first leading roles on both the small and big screens as the central protagonist for Season 2 of Homecoming on Amazon Prime and in the mind-bending, politically charged thriller Antebellum. This, however, came after several years of experience, such as in her 2014 film debut voicing a veterinarian in Rio 2, 2016’s Academy Award-nominated Hidden Figures and Moonlight (the latter of which won Best Picture), and a supporting role in the 2019 Harriet Tubman biopic opposite fellow musician-turned-actress Cynthia Erivo.
While she was once considered to be a frontrunner for the part of Domino in Deadpool 2 before ultimately going to Zazie Beetz and for Black Canary in Birds of Prey, which went to Jurnee Smollett, Janelle Monae has yet to officially earn the comic book movie glory she is clearly interested in obtaining. On the plus side, that gives us plenty of time speculate which characters in the Marvel Universe she would be a great candidate to bring to life on the big screen. Six notable heroes come to mind, starting with one who has shares similar talents Monae.
It would be ill-fitting to use the word “funny and wholesome” to describe this mutant hero, who was actually an ally to Apocalypse and Magneto before joining the X-Men. Joanna Cargill suffered a rough childhood due to racial oppression and the abuse of her military veteran father, whom she killed in self-defense as a teenager after her superhuman abilities finally kicked-in, which she would then use as an unstoppable freelance mercenary under the name Frenzy. Introducing this warrior woman would not only be another great opportunity for socially conscious commentary in the MCU, but could also redeem Janelle Monae from her previous military-based character, GI Julie in Robert Zemeckis’ critically maligned fact-based dramedy Welcome to Marwen.
To continue the inclusion of X-Men characters who have been involved in battles against Apocalypse while also dialing back on characters with a musical background, Roxanne Washington was born from hip-hop power couple Roy «Daddy Libido» Washington and Angel «Sexy Mutha» Depres, but instead of becoming the next big hitmaker, she decided to pursue perfecting her mutant abilities as the Xavier Institute. While “Bling!” does also sound like a great rapper name, it actually refers to Roxanne’s crystalline skin, due to her bone marrow’s ability to produce diamond shards which also grant her superhuman strength and durability. In addition to bearing a striking appearance to previous X-Men movie characters, Bling! would be yet another great vessel for representation as an LBGTQ+ superhero, which the openly pansexual Janelle Monae can also relate to.
Loki is coming to Disney+ to give Marvel Cinematic Universe fans an update on the God of Mischief after last seeing him making an escape in Avengers: Endgame, and one Loki star has a promising update. Gugu Mbatha-Raw was revealed as the Loki female lead back in February 2020, and she dropped some details about production on the highly-anticipated project, which was one of the many TV shows that shut down production due to the pandemic in the spring. Mbatha-Raw has some good — if somewhat guarded — news