SHE'S A LADY1 of 13
During Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation at last week’s Comic-Con International: San Diego, Studio President Kevin Feige revealed that Jane Foster would be returning for a fourth Thor film - as Thor herself. During the very same panel, Feige confirmed speculation that Marvel Comics' second Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, would be the protege to Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton in the upcoming Disney+ Hawkeye event series.
But they're not the first women, in movies or comics, who have take over as iconic superhero identities once held by men to become legendary heroes in their own right. With that in mind, here are eleven excellent examples of women who took on superhero identities once held by men.
DOCTOR FATE2 of 13
Doctor Fate is one of those heroic identities that’s tied to an object – in this case, the Helmet of Nabu, an ancient Egyptian sorcerer whose essence resides in the magical helm. There have been several women to wear the helmet and serve as Doctor Fate, including Inza Nelson, the wife of Kent Nelson, the classic Fate.
There was also the husband-and-wife duo of Eric and Linda Strauss who – unusually enough – merged together to become one entity as a female-presenting Doctor Fate who even served on the Justice League for a brief period.
STAR-LORD3 of 13
Kitty Pryde was a brief addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy, joining the team after her engagement to Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord) apparently ended.
She took up Quill’s helmet and blasters while he was relegated to his hereditary position as Emperor of Spartax, and took his Star-Lord codename to boot.
Her time was short-lived however with Peter quickly returning to the team and Kitty going back to the X-Men.
ROBIN4 of 13
There have been several female Robins in DC lore. While most of them hail from alternate futures and universes, Stephanie Brown briefly served as Batman’s protégé when her occasional boyfriend Tim Drake was forced by Batman to give up crime-fighting.
A fan favorite, Stephanie was the Spoiler prior to becoming Robin. She died in a controversial story while operating as Robin, a death DC later retconned, bringing her back as a new Batgirl.
Since "Rebirth," aspects of Stephanie's history have been restored, and she's back in action as the Spoiler.
BLACK PANTHER5 of 13
The current (and most famous) Black Panther, T’Challa, is just one in a long line of Wakandan rulers to bear the mantle of their fierce protector. A few years ago, when a battle with Doctor Doom left T’Challa comatose, the Black Panther identity passed to his sister, Shuri.
T’Challa’s back in action now, and is Marvel’s main Black Panther - but Shuri's popularity as a hero in her own right is higher than ever thanks to big screen appearances in Black Panther,Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, as well as a recent comic book title of her own.
STAR-SPANGLED KID6 of 13
Created by none other than Geoff Johns in his earliest work for DC, Courtney Whitmore took the codename and Star-Belt from Sylvester Pemberton, the original Star-Spangled Kid, to fight alongside her step-dad (and Pemberton’s former sidekick), the mech-suit wearing S.T.R.I.P.E. She later joined the JSA, fulfilling her legacy as Star-Spangled Kid.
Courtney eventually adopted the name Stargirl after Jack Knight, the Starman at the time, bequeathed her his cosmic staff. She’s operated under that name since - even lending it to an upcoming eponymous DC Universe streaming TV series.
WOLVERINE7 of 13
When Logan did the seemingly impossible and actually died, his Wolverine name and costume eventually passed to his clone and protégé X-23.
Already a seasoned warrior before taking on the Wolverine identity, X-23, or Laura, as her friends call her, has proven that, like her former mentor, she’s the best there is at what she does.
The original Wolverine is now back in action with Laura once again going by the codename X-23.
MANHUNTER8 of 13
Kate Spencer was the last person to wear the name Manhunter in the DC Universe, and the first woman to do so. A unique prospect among comic book heroines when she was created, Spencer was a single mom and brutal vigilante whose title defied cancellation numerous times through fan outcry and support.
Spencer was also an attorney, and was Wonder Woman’s defense lawyer when she killed Maxwell Lord. She also served alongside the Birds of Prey and the JSA (like several of her namesakes, and her superpowered grandparents), and recently reappeared in Event Leviathan.
THOR9 of 13
The idea of Thor’s name passing on to a new hero is a little odd as it’s, well, his name, and not a title. But that’s exactly what happened when Thor (who for a time went by Odinson) became unworthy of wielding Mjolnir in Original Sin.
When a new, female wielder proved herself worthy and lifted the hammer, she gained the powers of Thor as Dr. Donald Blake once did.
After fighting alongside the new wielder of Mjolnir, Odinson conceded that she was a worthy successor, and granted her his name along with his powers. It was later revealed that the new Thor was none other than his former paramour Jane Foster.
Of course, the original Thor's got his name (and hammer) back now, but Jane Foster remained in the role for years before passing back the torch.
THE QUESTION10 of 13
Handpicked by the original Question, Vic Sage, Renee Montoya learned Victor Sage’s enigmatic ways and spiritual philosophy before inheriting his faceless identity in the year-long weekly series 52 when Vic died of cancer. Renee served as the Question for some time, and even had a romance with Batwoman, another character introduced in 52.
Since the "New 52," Montoya has been bumped back down to being a Gotham City cop. And in the current DC Universe, Vic Sage is back in action as the Question. Renee Montoya will appear in the upcoming Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) played by Rosie Perez.
HAWKEYE11 of 13
Wealthy prodigy Kate Bishop took on the mantle of Hawkeye following Clint Barton's death in "Avengers: Disassembled," helping form the Young Avengers while the original adult team was disbanded.
But unlike some young heroes who replace older characters, Kate stuck around following Clint Barton's return as Ronin - and when Clint took up his bow again, Kate still kept the name, essentially refusing to quit being Hawkeye.
And, given her undeniable skill, Barton eventually took Bishop directly under his wing, giving her his blessing and tutelage as Hawkeye - leading them to share an ongoing series, before Kate struck out in a solo volume of Hawkeye.
Their mentor/mentee dynamic will be at the heart of the newly-announced Disney+ Hawkeye TV series.
CAPTAIN MARVEL12 of 13
Carol Danvers started out as an ally and confidante of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, before gaining cosmic powers of her own and operating as Ms. Marvel for decades. Several years ago, Carol decided to climb the ranks and take the Captain Marvel title for herself, in honor of Mar-Vell who died years prior.
Since taking the mantle of Captain Marvel, Carol has become Marvel’s premiere female hero. She’s an Avengers mainstay, and was one side of the conflict in Civil War II. And of course her solo movie is currently in theaters.
It’s also important to note that Carol isn’t the first woman to take the name Captain Marvel.
After Mar-Vell’s death, in a period while Carol was not operating as Ms. Marvel, Monica Rambeau took the name, which she carried for several years. She now goes by Spectrum. Both Monica and her mother Maria Rambeau appeared in Captain Marvel.
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