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Marvel Studios Issues Statement on Controversial New Superhero Casting

Sabra, Shira Haas, Sam Wilson, Marvel Studios
By Sam Hargrave

Marvel Studios has been dead-set on bringing new characters into the fold with Phase 4, many of whom come from all over the world. Moon Knight delivered the first Egyptian hero, Shang-Chi took the MCU's first trip to Asia, and Ms. Marvel dived right into Kamala Khan's Pakistani origin.

During Disney's D23 convention, Marvel Studios revealed Captain America: New World Order will introduce Shira Haas as Sabra, an Israeli superhero. Sabra is a mutant with close ties to her national government as she works for Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency.

The Direct Image
Shira Haas

The casting reveal recently stirred up viral controversies as the MCU edges into the territory of the Israel/Palestine conflict that has endured since the mid-20th century. Now, Marvel Studios finally responded to the situation.

Marvel Responds to Captain America 4's Hero Controversy

Following a viral outcry regarding Shira Haas' casting as Sabra, an Israeli superhero, in Captain America: New World Order, Marvel Studios responded in a statement issued to The New York Times

Sabra Israeli
Marvel

The studio promised that while inspiration is taken from the comics, New World Order will be "taking a new approach" with Sabra to reimagine her for "today's audience:"

“While our characters and stories are inspired by the comics. They are always freshly imagined for the screen and today’s audience, and the filmmakers are taking a new approach with the character Sabra who was first introduced in the comics over 40 years ago.”

So How Will Marvel Change Sabra?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier didn't shy away from diving into controversial politics, and Captain America: New World Order ought to be a similar affair. But that doesn't mean the paranoia thriller blockbuster will explore the Israel/Palestine conflict, even though Sabra has had connections to the tensions in past comics.

Marvel comics Sabra
Marvel

Marvel Studios has always made a point of differing its from the comics, whether that means only loosely adapting existing stories or completing overhauling characters, occasionally combining them with others. Sabra ought to be another example of this as the studio likely avoids the political situation in the region.

Although avoiding addressing the conflict altogether could prove to be just as controversial as exploring it in great depth, which is what makes this situation so tough for Marvel Studios. But for now, there's no telling how Sabra will play into New World Order or even how significant of a player she will be.

Perhaps Sabra will simply prove as a representative of the region in a larger global story, she did once represent Israel in a meeting held by Black Panther. Maybe this is only the beginning of the international superhero castings and New World Order will eventually include more players from around the world, but only time will tell.

Captain America: New World Order hits theatres on May 3, 2024.


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