Here's the great thing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe; even as we celebrate the latest superhero epic, we know more is on the way. 2018 will see Marvel release Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. All three are now in production, and as a result, we're sure to soon learn more about Ant-Man and the Wasp, a film we currently know very little about.
Over the weekend, The Tracking Board surprised the world with the revelation that Randall Park (of Fresh Off The Boat fame) is joining the film as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jimmy Woo. He's a classic comic book character who fans will be thrilled to see join the MCU, but what does Marvel have planned for this super-spy?
Who Is Jimmy Woo?
Created by Al Feldstein and artist Joe Maneely back in 1956, Jimmy Woo is a Chinese-American secret agent who actually predates Marvel Comics. Back in the 1950s, the company went under the name of 'Atlas Comics.' Woo originally starred in a short-lived (but well-remembered) comic called Yellow Claw, named after its deadly adversary, a sort of Communist version of the Mandarin. A decade later, Marvel decided to bring Jimmy back as a supporting cast member in Strange Tales. Woo became a key member of the early S.H.I.E.L.D..
Over the years, Marvel's carefully retconned Jimmy Woo into the mainstream continuity. He was actually an FBI agent responsible for overseeing an early (pre-S.H.I.E.L.D.) version of the Avengers. After joining S.H.I.E.L.D., Woo became a notable monster hunter. Into the 2000s, Marvel retconned Jimmy Woo — and other Atlas characters — so that they played an even more important role in Marvel's secret history. It seems Woo gathered this team together as a secret super-team to investigate Yellow Claw and his Atlas Foundation, a global secret organization that possesses advanced science. In a bizarre twist, it turned out the Yellow Claw was testing Woo to establish whether or not he was worthy to marry his daughter, Suwan, and succeed him as Khan. As a result, the super-villainous Atlas Foundation became a shadowy force for good, albeit one that's always a step away from corruption. Woo and his allies became known as the Agents of Atlas, a secret superteam who were fairly important in the mid-2000s.
You'll immediately notice similarities between Jimmy Woo and the MCU's version of Hank Pym; both are forgotten heroes of the past, figures who worked with S.H.I.E.L.D., but went their own way. It's even possible that Ant-Man and the Wasp will reveal more forgotten heroes of the MCU.
Fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have long wondered why more famous agents don't appear on the show, and now it seems we have an answer; even with S.H.I.E.L.D. disgraced after the events of The Winter Soldier, Marvel Studios remain interested in using some of these core characters. To date, probably the most high-profile S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has been Mockingbird!
At the same time, though, this is just the latest hint we've had that next year may see a resurgent S.H.I.E.L.D.. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 won't launch until January 2018, meaning the series will be ongoing when Avengers: Infinity War is released. What's more, Season 4 ended with a hint that the show is about to embrace the cosmic side of the MCU, clearly setting up a potential tie-in.
In the aftermath of Infinity War, we now know that Ant-Man and the Wasp will introduce a high-profile character often associated with the organization, while it's also been confirmed that 2019's Captain Marvel will feature a major role for Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. The evidence is building that, post-Infinity War, S.H.I.E.L.D. will be back in play in a big way.
But is this just misdirection? Is it possible that we'll see Marvel do something very different with Jimmy Woo?
Could We Be About To Meet The Agents Of Atlas?
Ant-Man introduced us to Michael Douglas's Hank Pym, the hero who used to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. as the original Ant-Man. For the first time in the history of the #MCU, we learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. had secretly worked alongside 'enhanced' heroes all along, keeping their existence secret from the public. The revelation added new depth to Nick Fury's statement back in Iron Man, when he welcomed Tony Stark to "a bigger universe." Is it possible that Ant-Man and the Wasp will introduce other forgotten heroes of the MCU — specifically Jimmy Woo's Agents of Atlas?
Before you criticize Agents of Atlas being too left-field, remember; Marvel Studios turned Guardians of the Galaxy into a powerhouse franchise and that starred a talking raccoon and a walking tree!
Here are the members of the Atlas team, and you'll see they're no more unusual than the Guardians:
- Venus, originally introduced as the goddess of love from Greek and Roman mythology, she was retconned as a Siren. She's a physical powerhouse who has the ability to manipulate men, a mystical skill we already saw in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the villainous Lorelei.
- Gorilla-Man, whose name kind of says everything. Conceptually, Gorilla-Man is an intriguing character; a soldier of fortune who heard that he could gain immortality if he killed the mystical Gorilla-Man. The catch? When he succeeded, he was transformed into the next Gorilla-Man.
- The first Marvel Boy, bearer of advanced Uranian technology that grants him a whole range of super-powers, including telepathy and tremendous physical strength.
- M-11, otherwise known as the Human Robot, a dangerous android.
- Namora, the Atlantean cousin of Namor, the Sub-Mariner.
Most fans believe that Infinity War will end with a lot of the world's heroes headed offworld, leaving the planet relatively defenceless. That would surely be a perfect moment for the heroes of yesterday to step into the spotlight, so it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see the Agents of Atlas appear on the scene. On the other hand, it's also quite possible that Ant-Man and the Wasp will simply introduce us to Jimmy Woo, and then hint at a future 'Agents of Atlas' plot (perhaps even in an end-credits scene).
Right now, the truth is that we don't know much about Ant-Man and the Wasp. The film will take place in the shadow of Infinity War, meaning #Marvel is being very cautious about revealing any details. After all, the more we know about Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, the more we can potentially deduce about Infinity War too.
Whatever the truth may be, the reality is that Randall Park has now been confirmed to play the role of Jimmy Woo, a character with an exciting and rich history in the comics. Whether he's an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. or of Atlas, it's going to be exciting to see what Marvel has in store for Jimmy Woo!
Which of these forgotten Marvel superheroes would you like to see in the MCU?
(Source: The Tracking Board)