This Underrated Marvel Hero Has The Doors Open With Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

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“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” does to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s multiverse what “Guardians of the Galaxy” does to its space-faring adventures: Sure, the concept was there before, but this is the movie that kicks the door wide open for future MCU works to step through. The “Doctor Strange” sequel does commendable work in introducing the audiences to several influential Marvel characters, chiefly in the form of the Illuminati.

However, you might not have noticed that the movie also teases a more underrated, yet potentially very important Marvel hero. In fact, you don’t even need to see the movie to entertain the possibility of this particular hero’s arrival, because the movie’s trailer (via YouTube) already shows what may lie in the MCU’s future. In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) fall through different alternate universes, and though the one that breaks them down into creepy cubes is the big visual attention magnet, the moment immediately preceding it doesn’t come far behind. This particular universe is a lush, green jungle, with what looks an awful lot like a dinosaur rampaging in the background.

Since the MCU loves its Easter eggs, there’s a pretty decent chance that this is the Savage Land, a classic location created by Jack Kirby. The Savage Land is a prehistoric, monster-infested area that’s located in Antarctica in the comics, and the likelihood of it existing in the MCU implies that its protector, Ka-Zar, is also somewhere out there. Introducing this relatively obscure hero would be a cool and potentially incredibly important move for the future of the MCU. Let’s take a look at why.

Ka-Zar is Marvel’s own lord of the jungle

Lord Kevin Plunder, better known as Ka-Zar, is a British nobleman whose family searches for a particular element in the Savage Land, and who ends up forming a friendship with a huge sabretooth tiger and becoming the land’s Tarzan-esque protector. He’s not a superhuman in the comics, but he’s a super-skilled survivor and holds enough sway over his domain to successfully face off against pretty much any trespasser, up to and including the X-Men. It just so happens that he’s also closely affiliated with Wakanda, so if the MCU doesn’t want to sit on the Savage Land tease for too long, there’s a golden opportunity to debut the big-screen version of Ka-Zar in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

The pros of bringing Ka-Zar and his land of prehistoric beasts in the MCU are considerable, if only because it would open the door for MCU-themed dinosaur movies and jungle adventures. There’s also the fact that Ka-Zar the character is obscure and malleable enough to turn into anything the MCU desires, much like the Guardians of the Galaxy back in the day. His supporting cast and rogues gallery — which includes his masked brother, the Plunderer, and a human-pteranodon hybrid called Sauron — is also intriguing enough to provide plenty of silver screen fun.

Savage Land is an opportunity to tell all sorts of stories

Apart from Ka-Zar’s own potential, the biggest benefit of bringing him in the MCU would arguably be the character’s association with several notable Marvel superheroes, from those already in the MCU to ones who are yet to make their debut. Along with Wakanda and the X-Men, Ka-Zar has connections to the Avengers — and particularly Spider-Man, who you know would have a blast swinging through the jungles of Savage Land. In the comics, Ka-Zar is also involved in Marvel’s Secret Invasion event, the MCU version of which is arriving on Disney+ at some point in the hopefully not too distant future.

The MCU has been known to tinker with important comic book locations that are connected to multiple heroes and villains — most recently, Wundagore in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Given the sheer amount of heroes who have visited the place at some point or another, Ka-Zar’s Savage Land would be a natural addition.

Ka-Zar needs to avoid falling into a casting trap

Of course, there’s one particular thing about Ka-Zar that may very well rustle a few feathers. As The Guardian notes, the “white protector of the jungle” trope is a pretty unfortunate one in this day and age, so the blond-maned, distinctly Caucasian comic book incarnation of the character would probably not be all that well-received.

Even though the comic version of Ka-Zar is an English lord called Kevin Plunder, Marvel Studios and Disney should already be acutely aware that keeping things comic books accurate isn’t necessarily enough to prevent fan backlash. After all, “Iron Fist” courted controversy for casting Finn Jones as Danny Rand because while the casting was in line with Danny’s comic book incarnation, many fans found it unsavory that a white guy dominates a narrative that revolves around Asian themes and mythology.

Thankfully, Ka-Zar is one of the deeper cuts in the Marvel Studios IP pile. There are plenty of ways to reimagine the character, and as such, no reason at all to believe that the MCU won’t be able to deliver a worthy live-action version when the time comes.

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