I have said before that Rosario Dawson’s otherwise stunning performance as the titular lead of Disney+’s Ahsoka cast is not what keeps me coming back each week. It's actually Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who puts in an endlessly charming, scene-stealing turn as Sabine Wren in the Star Wars franchise’s latest live-action TV series spinoff. Of course, while the rebellious Mandalorian warrior may be her biggest role to date, it is only the latest in an already impressive career that has had me questioning when Bordizzo's chance to appear in any upcoming Marvel movies will arise.
The model-turned-actor — who is of both Chinese and Italian descent, yet born in Australia — was already one of Hollywood’s biggest up-and-coming Asian actors before playing a fan-favorite Star Wars character. However, now that Disney has her number, it should only be a matter of time before she gets the call to play a fan-favorite Marvel character. In anticipation for her potential upcoming superhero movies debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I thought I would give Kevin Feige and co. a few ideas — starting with one for which her acting debut already helped prepare her.
One of the best Natasha Liu Bordizzo movies (and also her very first) is 2016’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny — a sequel to Ang Lee’s gravity-defying martial arts masterpiece exclusively released on Netflix in 2016. According to Vogue, the then-newcomer actually had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do before appearing in the film as Snow Vase, the apprentice of Shu Lien (future Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh). I have a comic book character in mind that would allow her to put those same to use in the MCU.
Mariko Yashida is the daughter of a powerful Japanese crime lord who would be resurrected from death by another notorious criminal known as Gorgon as an enforcer known as Scarlet Samurai — an alias she would later adopt as her own when she became a vigilante. The sword-wielder was previously portrayed by Tao Okamoto in 2013’s The Wolverine, which also referenced her romantic connection to the adamanium-clawed mutant. However, if Bordizzo brought the character back for the big screen, I would like to see the warrior put more at the forefront.
Coincidentally, Bordizzo has, technically, already crossed paths with Wolverine, having starred opposite Hugh Jackman in the hit 2017 musical, The Greatest Showman, as a talented acrobat named Deng Yan. That gave me the idea to cast her as someone from the Marvel universe who also has experience performing in the circus named Zelda DuBois, but is better known as Princess Python.
Not only was Zelda part of the Circus of Crime as a dancer and snake trainer, the villain was also part of the mercenary group aptly referred to as the Serpent Squad, whose members are commonly known as enemies of Captain America. It might be a cool idea for Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson to face off against her and the gang at some point in the future.
I actually have a few ideas for how Bordizzo could cross paths with Jackman’s successor to the Wolverine role whenever Marvel’s X-Men movies reboot finally happens. One would be to cast her as one of the comic’s deadliest mutants, Lady Deathstrike.
Otherwise known as Yuriko Oyama, this baddie gets her name from having powers that are actually similar to Wolverine’s — namely regenerative healing, an adamantium skeleton and retractable razor-sharp claws that comes out from the fingertips, in her case. She was previously portrayed wonderfully (and silently) by Kelly Hu in 2003’s X2: X-Men United, and I think bringing her back for a new project that better explores her backstory, and with an actor as talented as Bordizzo in the role, is in order.
Then again, I think if Bordizzo is going to join the MCU as an X-Men character of Asian descent, it should be as one who is more prominent and widely beloved. There is no better example of this than Jubilation Lee.
Called Jubilee for short, this young, Chinese-American mutant with the power to blind her enemies by conjuring bright, colorful energy globes was previously played by Lana Candor in X-Men: Apocalypse for what was not much more than a cameo. A great way for Marvel Studios to do the fan-favorite character justice on the big screen (or small screen, even) would be to cast Bordizzo, whom I have no about could work wonders in the role.
On second thought, another part of me would like to see Bordizzo breathe life into a more overlooked Marvel character who has yet to make her live-action debut in anything. One who comes to mind is Jolt, the alter ego of Helen Takahama, whose parents were murdered on her 15th birthday by Onslaught (an evil alternate personality living inside Professor Charles Xavier).
She would adopt her alias, however, after Arnim Zola captured and experimented on her, which left her with the ability to take down her enemies with a devastating electrical shock. These powers would eventually earn her a spot alongside the Thunderbolts — a crimefighting team with a movie coming out that has already been cast. And yet, that doesn’t mean Bordizzo can’t join in on the fun in a future installment.
I would agree that Netflix’s recent comedic creature feature Day Shift certainly had its flaws, but one thing that it had going for it was Bordizzo’s charming performance as a goodhearted vampire named Heather. Considering how bloodsuckers are about to become a big part of the MCU when the Blade movie comes out, I think it would be fun to see her revisit this type of nocturnal creature with a take on the lore.
What better way to go darker than the daughter of Dracula himself, Lilith Drake — a living vampire (similar to Michael Morbius) who actually despises her father. This would lead her to join a crew of supernatural mercenaries known as the Howling Commandos, which is just one option for how to get her fanged up in the MCU. No matter how they would introduce Bordizzo as Lilith, I think the casting would be bloody good match.
Whether she lights up the MCU or goes a different route and shows up in some upcoming DC movies, Natasha Liu Bordizzo has earned herself the chance to be in a comic book movie (or TV show) actor sooner rather than later.