Since the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first Iron Man movie in 2008, the franchise has steadily involved its share of Asian actors and actresses in the MCU casting.
Some of the Asian cast include the dependable Wong (acted by Benedict Wong) in Doctor Strange, Minn-Erva (by Genma Chan) in Captain Marvel, Sersi (also Genma Chan) in The Eternals, the up-and-coming Shang-Chi (Liu Simu) and The Mandarin/Wenwu (Tony Leung) in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
We are also beginning to see more South Korean artistes entering the mix of MCU superheroes. Here are the first three South Korean actors and actresses who have blazed the trail into the MCU franchise!
A world-famous geneticist and head of the U-GIN Research Group, Helen Cho has remarkable expertise in the field of cell biology and invented the Regeneration Cradle, a advanced machine that is capable of regenerating skin tissue. She used the Regeneration Cradle to help treat Clint Barton and generate a new body for Ultron which ultimately became the body of Vision.
Her level of intelligence was on par with fellow scientist-engineers like Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Shuri of Wakanda. In the comic, she was the mother of a future superhero, Amadeus Cho aka Brawn.
One of the most celebrated South Korean actors, Ma Dong-seok (born 1971), also known as Don Lee, is well-known for playing the role of a tough guy. He reprises the "tough guy" role as Gilgamesh in the Enternals, as part of the star-studded main cast that included Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, and Gemma Chan.
The Eternals are a race of near-immortal beings whose mission is to protect Earth humanity from the Deviants. They do not die due to old age or illness as a result of their genetic design, although they can be killed in physical battles.
Fittingly, Ma Dong-seok's character, Gilgamesh, is the strongest and kindest member of the Eternals, accentuated by his physical bulk and thickened armor. According to the costume designers for the Eternals, the armor costume Ma Dong-seok has to put on for Gilgamesh is the thickest, specially to emphasize his strength. In fact, Gilgamesh's powers, strength and stamina are said to rival those of Thor and Hercules. Watch out for his robust performance when the Eternals hit the cinemas on November 5, 2021.
A highly sought-after male lead of Korean movies and drama shows, Park Seo-joon (born 1988) rose to fame from a series of highly-rated television dramas such as Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, What's Wrong with Secretary Kim, Fight For My Way and Itaewon Class.
Park Seo-joon will be making his Hollywood debut with the 2022 MCU movie The Marvels, alongside Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel), Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau) and Zawe Ashton.
While his role has yet to be officially announced, it was speculated that he could be playing the MCU version of Amadeus Cho, a character in the comic who is a Korean-American teenage hero (also known as Brawn) and whose mother is Helen Cho, a role coincidentally played by fellow South Korean Claudia Kim.