Is there anything that Taraji P. Henson can’t do? The prolific actress has portrayed a myriad of roles — a sex worker with a golden voice, the matriarch of a musical family, and a brilliant Virginia-based NASA mathematician who shaped history. Henson challenged herself once again in Proud Mary as a gun-wielding hitwoman with a heart of gold. Black woman-led action films are scarce at best, but Taraji’s performance as contract killer Mary showed her badass side as she dropped countless bad guys with an arsenal of guns and slick hand-to-hand combat.
So, what’s next for Taraji? If she had it her way, then she would be in a Marvel movie. The actress has admitted her desire to step into the live-action comic world and, after her Proud Mary performance, she’d rock the following roles:
Monica Rambeau (aka Spectrum)
Taraji doesn’t just want any role in a comic book movie. She wants to be a superhero! So, why not make her one of the most influential Black women in the Marvel universe? Monica Rambeau is the first Black superheroine to join the Avengers; she was their leader at one point. She’s had a long, complicated comic history (and several aliases) but she has always remained powerful. Rambeau’s ability to manipulate herself into different forms of energy and her extremely low tolerance for BS is a perfect fit for the versatile actress. Right now, there is a strong possibility that actress Dewanda Wise is going to appear as Rambeau in the Captain Marvel (a name Rambeau used to bear) movie. It would be great to see Wise take on the role, but if she doesn’t, then Taraji should follow her dreams.
Mary’s deep regret over killing a young boy’s father and her desire to walk away from the assassin world was captured perfectly by Taraji. Mary was full of heart but she would quickly put her complicated feelings aside to take enemies down with her bare hands. Black Cat, a Spider-Man comic nemesis, has plenty of similarities to another feline fatale but her ability to distort probability fields and give her foes bad luck make her stand out. She's a skilled fighter, acrobat, and has teetered between a villainess and antiheroine. Black Cat (aka Felicia Hardy) is no hero, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to see Taraji tap into her dark side. Now, the comic character is getting her own film alongside Silver Sable entitled “Silver & Black.” Gina Prince-Blythewood, a well-known Black film director, will take the reins on this project, so it is a perfect opportunity to have a Black actress take on this role. Taraji, make your move!
What’s better than playing one Mary? Playing two Marys! Typhoid Mary has been the deadly comic nemesis of characters like Deadpool and Daredevil. She's a complicated character who suffers from dissociative identity disorder and struggles with controlling her actions. Typhoid Mary is a formidable foe with an arsenal of skills, including extensive martial arts knowledge, telekinesis, super strength, and a stout swordsmanship. Marvel’s Daredevil series is gearing up for a season 3 and has prominently featured Kingpin, an associate of Typhoid Mary. It would be the perfect time to introduce this intriguing supervillain and allow her to wreak havoc in Hell’s Kitchen. If they bring Mary into the fold, then Taraji should start sharpening her fighting skills STAT.
Raquel Ervin (Rocket)
Taraji may have her heart set on the Marvel universe, but there are plenty of compelling DC characters. Rocket — a young Black woman and aspiring writer — was introduced in the early '90s in the Icon comic series. The socially conscious crime fighter was faced with a difficult balance between being a mother and tackling risky missions. It’s an interesting dynamic that Proud Mary explored and should be featured more often. Rocket is a former gymnast with no superhuman powers, but she is able to control energy through an inertia belt. She was one of many lesser known Black heroines in the comic universe, but the character has gained traction on the animated TV show Young Justice. Rocket’s future could be experienced through the eyes of Henson in a TV series or movie.
Skyrocket is another Black heroine from the DC world. Before becoming a hero, she did a short-lived stint in the US Navy. Skyrocket (real name Celia Forrestal) was a skilled aviator but couldn’t manage to move past being a training instructor due to racism and sexism. Her power was derived from a high-tech harness fashioned by her scientist parents and allowed her to absorb and convert any form of energy. The death of her parents sent her on a revenge mission in their honor. Like Captain America, she wore a bold star on her chest and the colors of the American flag. Unlike him, her story has never made it to live action TV or the big screen. But, a lesser known character like Skyrocket fits well in today’s social climate and Taraji is an actress who could bring her frustration, losses, and disillusionment to life.