Marvel Studios is defending Captain America 4’s newest MCU hero, Sabra, amid the controversy following her casting, saying she will be reimagined.
Following the backlash over her casting, Marvel Studios released a statement defending the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest hero, Sabra, who is set to arrive in Captain America: New World Order. Release scheduled for May 3, 2024, Captain America: New World Order will focus on Sam Wilson taking on the role of the star-studded Avenger. On D23, it was confirmed that Tim Blake Nelson would be reprising his role as the leader of The Incredible Hulk, but it was also revealed that Unorthodox star Shira Haas would join the film as Israeli superhero Sabra.
Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema, Sabra debuted in The Incredible Hulk comics in 1981 after appearing in an issue in 1980. When the character first appeared, she was working with the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, and came into conflict with the Hulk himself thinking he was working with a terrorist organization. Since the character’s announcement, there have been concerns among fans for a variety of reasons. Some worry about having an Israeli-themed hero given the historic and ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, while others worry about putting a Jewish-themed hero in a subtitled movie. New world order, which has anti-Semitic conspiracy overtones and now the studio behind the project is speaking out in defense of the plan.
Marvel Studios released a statement for Variety in defense of Captain America: New World OrderThe MCU’s newest hero is launching Sabra after a flurry of backlash to her inclusion. The studio’s statement confirms that if they look to the comics for inspiration, the character will be reworked to better fit the MCU. The filmmakers are said to be reinventing the character, likely offering a different backstory and personality to avoid any real-world controversy. Marvel’s statement can be read below:
“While our characters and stories are inspired by the comic books, they are still freshly imagined for today’s screen and audience, and the filmmakers are taking a fresh approach with the character Sabra who was introduced for the first time in the comics over 40 years ago.”
Reworking Sabra is part of the MCU’s history of reworking comic book characters to better reflect the 21st century. Marvel Studios’ commitment to diversity has also often forced them to confront and rework troubling and problematic aspects of their comic book history in order to make them work for an adaptation. Shang-Chi was drastically reworked for his feature, removing the racist Fu Manchu caricature from the character’s origin and replacing him with Wenwu, himself a reimagining of the Mandarin, another character with a lot of baggage in terms of adaptation. . M’Baku has become one of the faces of the Black Panther franchise, but the comic book character went by the offensive name Man-Ape, and filmmaker Ryan Coogler drastically reimagined the character.
Sabra’s announcement for Captain America: New World Order was certainly a surprise as she was never the most well-known or established hero and no one would expect her to be a priority to join the MCU. Her limited number of appearances gives the creative team some freedom to reinvent her as opposed to longtime fan-favorite characters like the Fantastic Four or The X-Men. With the film nearly two years away, it’s unclear how Sabra will factor into the story or the MCU, but it’s safe to say that Marvel Studios will have to walk a fine line with the character heading towards Captain America: New World Order.