Filipino-American Talents in Marvel


Three Filam Stars Shine Bright in Marvel!

When discussing Hollywood movies, people first think of Marvel, specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It seemed like, out of nowhere; it had become the biggest movie franchise of all time.

The MCU not only relied on its characters’ popularity but also built a compelling storyline that interconnected all characters, making each movie a must-see event.

The strength of the MCU also relied on its diversity. It had something for everyone; Black Panther is black, Captain Marvel is a strong female, and Peter Parker’s friend is a Filipino.

Speaking of Filipinos, there are plenty of them in various Marvel movies. They gave us something to be proud of and told the moviegoer next to us, “Hey, that’s a Filipino like me!” Who are these FilAms in the MCU? Let’s check them out.


Marvel’s X-Men 2099: Tuklas

Tulkas is the latest addition to Marvel’s X-Men 2099. Debuting in Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #5, Tulkas is a Filipino Brawler with formidable powers, according to Filipino artist Kim Jacinto in his Instagram post.

This new series, penned by Steve Orlando and featuring art from an impressive roster including Paul Fry, David Wachter, Marco Castiello, Ze Carlos, Alessandro Mircola, and Kim Jacinto, takes Miguel O’Hara on a sweeping journey through the 2099 Marvel Universe.

X-Men, recognized for tackling societal themes and championing inclusivity, boasts a legacy of mutant heroes with inherited superpowers.

Marvel’s Drax: Dave Bautista

Also known as Batista, Bautista wears his Filipino background with pride

He played Drax in the Guardians of The Galaxy series. He displayed his comedic chops and was one of the most well-loved characters there. This also made his transition from a professional wrestler to a Hollywood star much smoother. 

Despite all the success in playing Drax, Bautista admitted hating having to play Drax. “I hate it. I’m so embarrassed,” Bautista said in an interview with Tim Kash on The IMDB Show. He really wants to do drama, but so far, he is not getting offers.

He points out that he loves participating in the series and is looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. “I like working with my castmates,” Bautista proclaims. “I  love them!”


Marvel’s Ned: Jacob Batalon

Spiderman Homecoming featured a diverse cast and introduced us to perhaps the first Filipino character in the MCU: Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds

Initially, nothing in the movie would point out Ned Leed’s Filipino lineage until his Lola (grandmother) spoke Tagalog.

Batalan admits he cannot speak Filipino, having been born and raised in Hawaii by Filipino parents. He does understand Tagalog and Ilocano. 

So how did he land the part?

Batalan was a New York Conservatory For Dramatic Arts student when he thought of auditioning for an untitled Marvel movie. “It was like a self-tape, then it was a screen test. The entire process took four months,” he recounted.

When it finally happened, it was so amazing!”


Marvel’s Wave: Leinil Francis Yu

marvel Wave

The Filipina superhero WAVE, named Pearl Pangan, is featured in Marvel Comics. She was designed and co-created by Filipino comic book artist Leinil Francis Yu, a prominent Marvel Comics artist.

While he is not associated with Pixnoy-PIXAR, Francis is highly regarded within the Marvel comic book community.

Leinil s a Filipino comic book artist whose big break was Wildstorm, hired by Whilce Portacio. It triggered Yu’s comic book artist career on Aster. Marvel Comics soon hired him for Wolverine.

Afterward, he worked on X-Men and other works for Marvel, such as Ultimate Comics: Avengers.

In 2018 Marvel relaunched Captain America, with Leinil as its artist, and in 2019, he created the first Filipino superhero, “Wave.”

WAVE appeared in the Marvel Comics issue War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1, published on May 8, 2019.


Marvel’s Ginaldo 

According to Marvel’s Wikia, the first appearance of a Filipino character in Marvel Comics can be traced back to “Marvel Mystery Comics” #26 in 1941.

He is portrayed stereotypically as a “bolo-wielding villain,” a Filipino assassin working for the Japanese during World War II.

Marvel’s Triumph Division with Timothy Cababa

In 2008, writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larocca introduced a Filipino super team called the Triumph Division in “The Invincible Iron Man” #2, published by Marvel.

This team had its headquarters known as Triumph Hall and joined forces with Iron Man to combat their long-standing adversary, the Mandarin.

Additionally, Tony Stark, the alter ego of Iron Man, hired a Filipino scientist named Timothy “Tim” Cababa to work for his new company, Stark Resilient.


Marvel’s Manuel Lago

In 2011, DC Comics introduced Manuel Lago, a Filipino character who initially appeared as an old friend of the Flash (Barry Allen). However, Manuel Lago transformed and ultimately became the villain known as Mob Rule.

He was featured in “The Flash” #4, written by Filipino-Canadian writer and artist Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.


Marvel’s Captain Steel

In “Earth 2” #13, released in 2013, the Marvel character Captain Steel indicates he has Filipino origins, making him the first Marvel hero with Filipino roots.

Captain Steel is also an American named Henry Heywood, who first appeared in “Steel: The Indestructible Man” #1 in 1978.


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