Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rumor Has It... White Tiger on Netflix

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Just a couple days ago, Bleeding Cool broke a rumor suggesting that Marvel and Netflix have shot pilot shorts for four different potential series.  Presumably these series would not enter active development until after The Defenders has been finished.  This is not the first rumor to this effect to come out—the last one suggested Punisher, Deathlok, Spider-Woman, and Moon Knight as the four series to follow The Defenders.  Of course, thus far the only thing to come from that previous rumor was the announcement of The Punisher following Jon Bernthal’s turn in the role during Daredevil season 2.

This time around the rumor is a little lighter on the details as far as the characters involved, but it does suggest that development has progressed at least a little further than the last rumor suggested.  In fact, the only character specified in the rumor is Angela del Toro, a.k.a. White Tiger.  There are plenty of possibilities for the other characters involved, and I will give my ideas at the end, but for now let’s focus on the single character we “know” from the rumor.

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Comic Book Background

White Tiger is the name of several heroes in the comics.  The first White Tiger is Hector Ayala, who finds a trio of mystical amulets which give him increased strength, speed, reflexes, senses, and the like.  These mystical amulets actually have their origin from K’un-L’un, the city of Iron Fist.  Ayala is the first Puerto Rican superhero, and the first Hispanic hero in Marvel Comics (so including White Tiger in the MCU would be kind of a big deal).  He has teamed up on occasion with other heroes rumored or confirmed for Netflix, such as Iron Fist, Shang Chi, and Daredevil.  In fact, one of the story arcs borrowed for Daredevil season 2 involved White Tiger being arrested for murder and defended by Matt Murdock (which led to Matt’s impassioned defense of the concept of vigilantism).  Ayala was wrongly convicted and shot while attempting to escape, at which point the amulets passed from Hector to his niece Angela.

Angela del Toro was an FBI agent, but after Hector’s death she assumed his mantle as White Tiger following a team-up with Daredevil in which he showed her the benefits of the vigilante lifestyle.  Angela was later killed by Lady Bullseye and resurrected as a Hand assassin, in which capacity she served alongside Daredevil as part of the Shadowland story arc.  Following Shadowland, Angela is arrested for murdering Black Tarantula, and the amulets pass to Ava Ayala, who is Hector’s teenaged sister (Angela’s aunt).

Ava Ayala is a young hero and the current White Tiger.  She is part of the Avengers Academy, and reveals that her entire family was murdered by Gideon Mace because of Hector’s activities as the White Tiger.

The White Tiger mantle is very much about this legacy.

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Legacy Heroes

A concept within the comics which still hasn’t quite made the transition into the MCU is that of the legacy superhero—a new hero who is assuming the mantle of a previous hero.  This is actually a fairly regular occurrence in the comics—Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and even Hawkeye and Black Widow are all codenames which have been passed to new heroes on at least one occasion.  When a new hero takes over an identity from a previous hero, there are always struggles associated with it.  When Miles Morales became the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe, many of the heroes who had known Peter Parker were upset with him, particularly Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), a gender-swapped clone of Peter Parker.  Clint Barton experienced the same thing during the single mission he went on as Captain America after Steve Rogers’ assassination.

In addition to those external pressures, these legacy heroes also experience their own personal struggles with living up to the legacy of the hero they replaced.  At first Bucky Barnes was unwilling to take up the Captain America mantle because he did not think he was worthy to carry Steve’s shield.

The struggles of picking up another hero’s legacy can be very great, and especially for someone like Angela del Toro, who took over the legacy of her uncle.

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Netflix Version

If I were responsible for developing Angela del Toro’s story for Netflix, I would focus on the concepts of family and legacy.  Building from the single namedrop in Jessica Jones season 1, I would establish that Angela is a private investigator working in Hell’s Kitchen.  Angela would be the second White Tiger in the MCU, following in the footsteps of her uncle, Hector Ayala, who was operating as White Tiger (without ever making the news as more than a rumor) even before Iron Man arrived on the scene in 2008.  Hector, however, along with his whole family, were murdered by Gideon Mace shortly before the series opens, after he found out Hector’s identity.

Following Hector’s murder, Angela discovers a note from him bequeathing the White Tiger amulets to her.  She puts on the amulets along with her own version of Hector’s suit and becomes the new White Tiger.  As her first mission, Angela investigates the murders of her family, which she traces back to Gideon Mace and his anti-government militia.  Angela is going to kill Mace out of revenge for her family’s deaths, but she realizes that is not what they would want and not what Hector would do.  Instead, she gathers evidence against Mace, causes his militia to turn against him, and ultimately hands him over to the authorities.

Angela would of course struggle with grief after losing her family, and she would also struggle with living up to her uncle’s legacy as a hero.  Over the course of the first season she would learn to accept what has happened and create a new legacy for herself, building off of Hector’s.

Considering that she and Jessica Jones are both private investigators, Jessica could easily appear in the series in some capacity, perhaps as someone Angela asks to back her up during a confrontation.  Daredevil also could appear in some capacity, maybe early on as someone who had encountered the first White Tiger and wanted to take Angela under his wing to help her avoid Hector’s fate.


This is roughly how I would incorporate Angela del Toro, a.k.a. White Tiger, into the Marvel Netflix universe.  I think that she would be an excellent addition on Netflix, both because she would be the first Hispanic hero on Netflix and because her abilities would translate extremely well without straining the effects budget any more than Daredevil or Jessica Jones.

I mentioned at the beginning that I would give my thoughts on the other series involved in this “pilot short” group could be.  To be honest, I think the best reading of this rumor would be in light of all the other rumors that have been coming out, along with the confirmation of The Punisher.  With that being the case, my guess for the other series involved in this four-series rumor would be some combination of the following:  The Punisher, Misty Knight (or Daughters of the Dragon with Colleen Wing), Shang Chi, and Moon Knight.  The Punisher has already been confirmed as in development.  Jeph Loeb just said this week that Marvel and Netflix are so blown away by Simone Missick’s portrayal of Misty Knight that they would like to give her a solo series.  There was a rumor a while back that Shang Chi will be introduced in Iron Fist before receiving his own series.  And there have been Moon Knight rumors for years.  Another option would be a Blade series which follows Blade’s daughter as she takes up her father’s mantle as the vampire hunter.  I think any of these would make for interesting series to explore more of this corner of the MCU.

Do you want to see Angela del Toro in her own Netflix series?  What characters do you want to see on Netflix after the current slate?  Let me know in the comments!

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