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Megalyn Echikunwoke Casting as Vixen on ‘Arrow’ Helps Increase Visibility of Often Neglected Black Heroes

Comic book shared universes are all the rage these days.  Marvel shattered the mold but The CW has been building its own shared universe on television through DC Comics characters on its hit show Arrow.  The success of “Arrowverse” has launched several spin-offs including The Flash, and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.  A popular Black superhero from DC Comics is set to make her live-action Arrowverse debut.

Actress Megalyn Echikunwoke will play Vixen in an upcoming episode of Arrow, according to  Echikunwoke voiced Vixen on her own animated web based spin-off this past summer on the The CW’s streaming website, CW Seed.  In the series, Mari McCabe is an orphan from Africa who is raised in Detroit.

She inherits her family’s Tantu Totem, which gives her the ability to mimic and embody the abilities of different animals.  She even interacts with Green Arrow and The Flash.  Arrow and The Flash executive producer Marc Guggenheim stated, “We’re not only thrilled to be further expanding our DC television universe by bringing in the live-action incarnation of the CW Seed hit, Vixen, we’re immensely excited that Megalyn will be revisiting her role as Mari McCabe.”

There’s been a lot of talk about more female superheroes headlining their own shows, especially after positive audience response to Supergirl and Marvel’s Jessica Jones.  It goes without saying there’s an even greater need to see Black female superheroes.  Since the animated series Justice League in the early 2000s, Vixen has become a more visible character.

“Vixen’s such a great character,” Marc Guggenheim suggested when the web-based spin-off was first announced.  “First of all, she represents magic, which is an area that we haven’t explored on either of the two shows just yet.  If Arrow is crime and The Flash is science, Vixen has a big magic component.”

Guggenheim has a clear passion and purpose for the character.  Vixen getting her own animated web-based spin-off establishes her as propriety.  Though she’s been on the peripheral on television shows such as CSI: Miami as Dr. Tara Price and The Following as Penny, this will be Echikunwoke’s highest profile role to date.

Having an established history playing the character creates great cohesion and a more effective performance.  If The CW has shown anything, it will spin-off successful characters into their own shows.  It will be interesting to see how she will be utilized on Arrow, and going forward in the more expansive Arrowverse.

Every Black superhero brought to the big or small screen is a victory. This goes double for Black female superhero.

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