Who is Marvel’s White Tiger and who should play them in the MCU?

White Tiger/Jenna Ortega
Images via Marvel Comics/Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

You might think that, after 14 years and four phases and counting of content, Marvel would be reduced to scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to finding new superheroes to introduce in the MCU. And yet you’d be wrong, as any comic book reader will tell you that Kevin Feige and company have hardly scratched the surface when it comes to the wealth of costumed crusaders featured in the source material. Particularly when it comes to characters of color.

And one such character who is primed to enter the MCU in Phase Five is White Tiger, one of the most popular Latino heroes in Marvel lore, who has been embodied by many different characters down the decades of comic book history. So who is White Tiger, why is now the best time to bring them to live-action, and who could play them in the MCU anyway? Put those claws away, and read on for all the answers…

Who is White Tiger in Marvel Comics?

Image via Marvel Comics

First of all, White Tiger can be simply defined as a cross between Black Panther and Shang-Chi, in that they are a feline-themed hero who derives their abilities from mystical macguffins. Specifically, the White Tigers gain their cat-like powers thanks to the three Jade Tiger amulets that were once owned by the Sons of the Tigers, a trio of legendary martial arts masters.

The first White Tiger, Hector Ayala, was introduced in the 1970s in Marvel’s kung fu comics. The second, and weirdest, White Tiger followed in the 1990s — she was an actual white tiger evolved into human form and a member of the Heroes for Hire. In 2002, Kasper Cole entered the scene — after initially masquerading as Black Panther, Cole resurrected the White Tiger mantle. A year later, Hector’s niece ex-FBI agent Angela del Toro reclaimed her family’s legacy and became the fourth White Tiger.

The current hero to assume the mantle is Ava Ayala, the younger sister of Hector and aunt to Angela. A graduate of Avengers Academy, Ava is probably best known to TV viewers thanks to her role as one of Spider-Man’s fellow teen heroes in Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. In fact, it’s Ava’s exposure through this animated series that may make her the perfect iteration of the Tiger to bring into the MCU.

Who could play White Tiger in the MCU?

Jenna Ortega at the World Premiere Of Netflix's "Wednesday"
Michael Tullberg/FilmMagic

There are various ways for White Tiger to enter the fray in the MCU. Kasper Cole, for instance, could be an interesting new character to play with in Black Panther 3, and Angela has a romance with Daredevil in the comics (although, frankly, Matt Murdock has enough notches on his bedpost at this point in the MCU). According to the latest intel, though, Marvel may be looking to go down the Ava Ayala route.

While we haven’t heard anything official, a popular rumor states that Ava’s White Tiger could appear in Daredevil: Born Again, with none other than Wednesday breakout star Jenna Ortega in the running for the role. Even if this rumor is nothing but hot air, Marvel should honestly start thinking about making it a reality as Ortega would be the perfect choice to play the MCU’s White Tiger.

The 20-year-old actress was already one to watch, but the success of Netflix’s Wednesday has catapulted her to super-stardom, so you can bet that she’ll be on Marvel’s radar (even if she did already briefly appear in the MCU a decade ago). With Ortega playing Ava, White Tiger could become yet another of the universe’s ever-growing stable of adolescent Avengers and could remain a franchise fixture for many years to come. Watch this space.