Marvel May Swap Popular Character’s Gender

Comic giant Marvel may be about to change the gender of some of its iconic superheroes. Silver Surfer, who features in the Fantastic Four, will be replaced by a female character in an upcoming 2025 movie. Fantastic Four tells the story of four astronauts who gain superpowers following radiation exposure. It began in 1961 and brings to life the characters Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing.

Silver Surfer is an ally of the group who travels through space looking for worlds to feed to a cosmic entity known as Galactus, but the rumor mill suggests Silver Surfer is to be phased out and replaced by a woman.

Comic fans have argued for years that so-called “wokeness” is killing the industry and affecting Hollywood output generally. In 2022, for example, Disney reportedly lost around $300 million after two “woke” movies bombed at the box office. Strange World, a children’s film that features a gay teenage character and a disabled dog, lost $194 million, while Toy Story spin-off Lightyear was criticized for including a lesbian kiss.

However, a vibrant debate remains about “wokeness” in movies and whether it is always bad for producers. Barbie, condemned by some conservatives as the most “woke” movie of them all, was a box office smash and raked in more than a billion dollars.

The film centered around a town filled with real-life Barbies (all named Barbie), with the leading Barbie played by Margot Robbie. Several political issues are addressed, such as racism and female empowerment, and critics accused it of demonizing men and driving a wedge between the sexes.

Social media users widely mocked conservative commentator Ben Shapiro when he made a 43-minute video denouncing Barbie and describing it as the worst film he had ever seen. Some made fun of him for wearing a black shirt and jeans identical to a costume worn by Ken, others suggested he secretly enjoyed it.