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    Meet Lauren Ridloff, The Marvel Cinematic Universe's First Deaf Superhero

    "This is what honor means. I'm so honored to be here."

    ICYMI, Marvel announced at Comic-Con that actor Lauren Ridloff has been cast as brilliant speedster Makkari in the upcoming Eternals movie!

    Amy Sussman / Getty Images

    According to Marvel.com, "the Eternals are a race of god-like beings locked in a millennium-old conflict with the less evolved Deviants and their originators, the Celestials. Each Eternal has watched civilizations burgeon and die from their domain of Olympia – they are immortals blessed with strange, sometimes monstrous, powers." As for Makkari, the character possess Earth-eternal physiology, superhuman strength, speed, and reflexes, and the atitude to design various high-velocity transport vessels.

    She'll be starring alongside Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Don Lee, and Lia McHugh. Can you say ALL-STARS?!?

    For those who don't yet know Lauren, she's an accomplished performer whose skills earned her a 2018 Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Play and a recurring role as Connie on The Walking Dead's ninth season.

    Gene Page / AMC

    Lauren was also born deaf, and so this casting makes Makkari the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first deaf superhero!!! And not only is the original comic book character a hearing person, but he's also a white man, whereas Lauren is Mexican and Black. So, this casting is MAJOR!

    John Romita Jr. / Marvel / Via marvel.com

    When asked at Comic-Con what it meant to portray the first deaf hero in the MCU, Lauren replied in ASL, "I do have a son. And he asked me after he read Greek mythology, he was reading through that, and he's like, 'What does honor mean?' This. This is what honor means. I'm so honored to be here."

    THIS IS EVERYTHING CONGRATULATIONS LAUREN RIDLOFF

    According to a USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism report, only 2.4 percent of all speaking or named characters in film were shown to have a disability in 2015 (and 71.1 percent were white), even though one-in-four adults in the US live with a disability.

    AMC / Via youtube.com

    Similarly, the 2016 Ruderman White Paper on the employment of actors with disabilities in TV found that more than 95% of television characters with disabilities are played by able-bodied actors. "This is nothing short of a social justice issue where a marginalized group of people is not given the right to self-representation," wrote authors Danny Woodburn and Kristina Kopić.

    So that's why I'm living for this inspired casting decision, as is Nyle DiMarco, the deaf activist-actor-model who won both America's Next Top Model in 2015 and Dancing With The Stars in 2016.

    Makkari in Marvel's ETERNALS is a white hearing male. Lauren Ridloff, a Deaf woman of color, occupied a hearing white male's role. And I'm living for it!! https://t.co/aaBnrfQSyH

    Here's what else people had to say about Lauren becoming Makkari:

    This. Is. Huge. Imagine all the young people globally who will watch this and see @LaurenRidloff signing in American Sign Language. Think of the potential ripple effect on perception & use of sign languages worldwide, especially for thousands of deaf kids who need it the most. https://t.co/qhQ6nTEMVa

    Lauren Ridloff is phenomenal in The Walking Dead, glad she’s gonna be in The Eternals.

    LAUREN RIDLOFF AS A DEAF SUPERHERO A MOMENT MOST PLEASING TO ME #Eternals

    The significance of this moment isn't lost on Lauren, who grew up in a hearing family and school system. "For a while, I thought that Deaf people didn't become adults because I never saw any older Deaf people," she told Now This earlier this year.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    "All my life I never saw anything that even came close to representing who I am - a female, a woman of color, and Deaf," the star continued. "So I am grateful that I'm being given this opportunity to represent different aspects of the larger Deaf community."

    CONGRATS, LAUREN!!! CAN'T WAIT TO WATCH YOU SAVE THE WORLD <3

    AMC / Via instagram.com

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