The name Raja Ilya won't to be familiar to many American Marvel fans, as the actress is currently most famous in Malaysia. However, while touring to promote her latest film, LuQman, Ilya revealed that her global career is set to skyrocket now that she's about to join the MCU!
What Do We Know So Far?
According to Raja, the unknown role will involve six months of training with actor/martial artist Yayan Ruhian, before she heads out to start filming early next year. The length of the training is significant, suggesting that this isn't just a background role, but one that will see more development.
Will Raja Star In A Marvel Film Or TV Show?
Although fans are automatically assuming Raja will appear in a film, it's worth noting that the actress doesn't indicate whether she's been approached by #Marvel Studios or Marvel Entertainment. That's actually an important caveat, because if Raja is working with Marvel Studios, then she'll be appearing in a movie; if she's working with Marvel Entertainment, she'll join the cast of a TV series, one that could potentially air on Netflix.
According to Raja, filming is due to start in early 2018. If she's working with Marvel Studios, then we'd expect the movie to air in 2019, which means that she could star in Captain Marvel, Avengers 4 or an untitled sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. While some fans are suggesting that Raja could be play Thanos's agent, Proxima Midnight, in Avengers 4, that seems rather unlikely as the sequel is due to film back-to-back with Avengers: Infinity War later this year.
Personally, I think it's more likely that Raja has been approached by Marvel Entertainment. Marvel's TV shows have a much healthier level of diversity, and - significantly - explore martial arts to an extent we wouldn't expect in either Captain Marvel or a Spider-Man film. That would certainly fit with the six months of combat training that Raja has been forced to endure before filming starts!
So Which Character Could Raja Play?
Right now, it's most likely that Raja is in the running to play a character known as Tiger's Beautiful Daughter, or Li Hua. This relatively minor character hails from Tiger Island, a mysterious island that is one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. Just as Iron Fist is the champion of one of these Cities, K'un L'un, Li Hua has earned the right to be the champion of Tiger Island. As such, she's one of the seven Immortal Weapons.
It's true that #IronFist Season 1 hasn't aired yet, but so far, every Marvel Netflix show has been renewed for a second season (and, in the case of Daredevil, for a third). It's possible then that Marvel is already planning Iron Fist Season 2, and if so, the Seven Cities of Heaven could play a major role. In that scenario, we'd expect Marvel to hire an actress who could play the part of Li Hua. In the interests of diversity and comic-book accuracy - a Malaysian actress would be ideal.
- This 'Daredevil' Easter Egg Might Contain Huge Spoilers About The Villain In 'Iron Fist' & The Plot Of 'The Defenders'
- Marvel's Iron Fist Casting Crisis - What's the Problem?
- From Iron Fist To Mary-Jane: Why The Comic Book Casting Controversies?
While this idea remains a theory for now, I can't see Raja Ilya working as a character in either Captain Marvel or a Spider-Man film, but she definitely fits the description of Li Hua - Tiger's Beautiful Daughter. If that's the case, then we can expect Iron Fist Season 2 to explore some exciting new corners of Marvel mythology...