Marvel Studios’ upcoming Eternals looks like it will stand out from the bulk of the MCU for numerous reasons. In particular, the diversity of the film’s cast and its inclusion of underrepresented groups in superhero roles is undeniably a major move for the franchise. Actress Lauren Ridloff will make her debut as Makkari, the speedster of the Eternals, and the MCU’s first deaf superhero.
In the comics, Makkari is a very different character— a large blonde hearing man. When asked by the New York Times why Eternals took such a different route with the character, Ridloff had this to say:
To be honest, I don’t know much about how they made that decision. But I love that they decided to make Makkari everything he’s not in the comic books — he’s a huge guy, let’s find someone tiny. He’s blond, let’s find someone who has Black hair. He’s a man, let’s go with a woman. He’s hearing, and now the character’s deaf.Lauren Ridloff
Ridloff also noted that she feels the pressure and stress that comes with the expectation for her to pave the way for future deaf actors. Asked what she hopes people will take away from Eternals, she responded:
Growing up, I didn’t dream about becoming an actor. I didn’t see myself on the screen. As a little girl, I thought I was one of only a few deaf people walking on this Earth. Now, as an adult, I’m aware there are at least 466 million deaf people and hard-of-hearing people out there. I’m not the only one. And that’s what it means to have a deaf superhero — a lot more people will see a lot more possibility.Lauren Ridloff
Notably, the MCU is already set to introduce deaf actress Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez/Echo in the upcoming Hawkeye and Echo Disney+ series and even has plans to explore Clint Barton’s AKA Hawkeye’s comic book history of deafness in the former. Marvel Studios’ vital moves to increase and highlight the diversity of its characters in Phase 4 will certainly be featured in Eternals, and Ridloff is no doubt ready to inspire a new generation of superheroes and superhero fans.
Source: The New York Times