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How SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME Can Fix the MCU's Interracial Relationship Problem

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) - Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Tom Holland)

Spider-Man: Far From Home is coming to theaters and with it the very first interracial relationship in the MCU. This is a problem. For all the studio's promises of diversity, they've fallen way short in this area. First, they took forever to bring one in. Then they dropped it. Finally, they've shoe-horned one into the movies without explanation.

Mixed couples were literally illegal at one time. Now the numbers have expanded to about 15% in the US. As recently as the 1960s, movies with interracial love stories faced boycotts and banning in parts of the U.S. They're getting more common every day and commercials and movies have been showing them more and more. Despite that, the Marvel movies have been unusually devoid of them.

It's worth noting that Marvel Studios has had a problem with romantic relationships for its entire run. Of the few pairings, most have been hit with the ridiculous stick. You have Steve (Chris Evans) in love with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwood) and then falling in love (briefly) with her niece Sharon (Emily VanCamp). You have Natasha being ogled by Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and kissing Steve before (briefly) dating Bruce Banner.

The only relationship that's been taken seriously is Tony Stark's love and marriage to Pepper Potts. The love affair between Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) is second but you have to factor in the huge age difference between them. Bettany is almost 50 while Olsen is 30. So while they have touching scenes together it's a little creepy that he's old enough to be her father. But maybe that's just me.

But it feels like the MCU has been getting a handle on it with Stark's marriage and T'Calla's relationship with Nakia. They feel real and strong. It's a nice change. So it makes sense they'd have trouble with interracial romances, but it feels like they've gone out of their way to avoid them.

In the entire run of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first time a white person is in love with a minority is in 2017s Spider-Man: Homecoming. In that movie, you have a mixed marriage between Adrian Toomes (Michael Keeton) and Doris (Garcelle Beauvais). It's not really touched on but it's there. Then Peter has a crush on his biracial classmate Liz (Laura Harrier). It's unrequited in the theatrical version of the film. But there's a deleted scene of them kissing that got cut. So, the first kiss got cut.

But you might be thinking, what about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones on Netflix? Or the Latina  Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) and Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie (Henry Simmons) on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? We'll talk more about the comics later, but the Netflix and ABC shows exist in a strange place. While the shows do have references to the movies they almost exist in an alternate timeline. Nothing that happens in them affect the movies. The biggest example is Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) who was killed in the Avengers movie and revived in the show. But, according to Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige he's still dead in the MCU. So they don't get a nod for that.

Speaking of comics, there are actually many opportunities for interracial relationships that the studio has ignored. Marvel comics have a history of interracial relationships. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones just ended up as "friends with benefits" in the shows but in the comics, they're married and have a daughter. If Marvel decides to bring them into the movies they could pursue it.

But there's an opportunity to explore romance with James "Rhodey" Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). In the comics, the two decided to pursue a romance after the events of "Civil War II". There's no reason the two couldn't get together in the movies. In fact, Rhodey has been sidelined through most of the movies and it would give the character room to grow.

Some would say it would limit Carol Danvers and that's possible. But Pepper's love for Tony hasn't held her back. Some people have seen the beginning of their romance in Avengers: Endgame. The directors Joe and Anthony Russo have gone on record saying it's not intentional. So we'll see what happens. The two do have a significant age gap so that might be a thing.

Now we come to the most prominent interracial relationship: Peter and Michelle "MJ" Jones. Ever since her first appearance in the trailers for Homecoming, there's been speculation she was Spider-Man's long-time love interest, Mary Jane Watson. That's not the case. She's an original character named Michelle Jones who happens to go by the nickname "MJ".

The two were definitely not a couple in Homecoming, but at the end of the movie, it's clear that MJ has been watching Peter closely. Far From Home seems to confirm the two are an item. That's great, but there's a problem. Why did they have to create a new character for him to fall in love with? Not that race changing is the answer to everything, but why bother to create a new character and name her after such an important person in Spider-Man's life? It makes it seem like someone had the idea to cast the traditionally white character with a black woman. Then they got cold feet and said: "well maybe it's MJ but it's not MJ". That feels cowardly.

The first significant interracial couple in the MCU is coming and we'll see how they handle it. The audience deserves to see the relationships we see in the real world playing out. It could be the first step to diversity in the MCU.

What do you think of the interracial couples in the MCU? Let us know in the comments below!
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