Phase 4 is giving a lot of MCU characters a second chance. For all its success since its launch with Iron Man in 2008, MCU has faced its fair share of road bumps, both on and off-screen. Everyone knows that MCU has issues when it comes to its portrayal of women in the past, often failing to give them the same development as their male peers.
For example, Jane Foster and her assistant Darcy Lewis have not been seen since Thor: The Dark World (flashback aside), and Sharon Carter has been off the radar since the events of Captain America: Civil War. Interestingly, all three get another shot at success in Phase 4.
Back at the San Diego Comic-Con, Thor: Love & Thunder director Taika Waititi confirmed that Natalie Portman would be returning as Jane, also will transform into Mighty Thor in the film. Sharon and Darcy are heading back to Stage 4. The former will play a recurring role in The Falcon and Winter Soldier, while the latter is part of the Scarlet Witch and Vision show, WandaVision.
For the most part, these characters did not fail because they were ill-conceived; The MCU couldn’t figure out what to do with them. In the first Thor movie, Jane was introduced as a driven scientist, but in The Dark World, she served a little more than a glorified vessel for Ether. Her absence in Thor: Ragnarok was described with a throwing line about her and Thor breaking up.
Sharon got a similar raw deal; after being introduced as a capable SHIELD agent in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he shared a strange kiss with Steve Rogers in the Civil War and disappeared. Of the three, Darcy has always been meant to be simple, yet the Thor movies fail to do anything other than giving her tired jokes.
All these characters have the ability to shine more in the 4th phase. Falcon and the Winter Soldier promise to portray Sharon in a more complex light by portraying her as a former government agent on the run, and against the Civil War Baron Helmut Zemo. Jane as Mighty Thor should have a similar meaty arc, uniquely if the movie adapts part or all of her cancer storylines from comic books. All of these characters have the potential to shine more in Phase 4.
Darcy also needs to feel more at home in the wacky-weird world of WandaVision, the series bringing back Randall Park‘s Jimmy Woo for more lively antics from Ant-Man and Wasp. With some luck, all of these supporting players have a stronger impact in their second go-round at MCU than their first run.