Marvel Needs To Bring Back One Very Special Discarded Actor

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Given how current Marvel movies like Quantumania and The Marvels have turned into complete flops, many fans have suggested that Disney start bringing back fan-favorite actors. Most of the time, this translates to fans wanting actors like Robert Downey, Jr., and Chris Evans to come back to the MCU, but we think Marvel could pull out of its current freefall by bringing “back” someone we never got to see. Originally, the role of Squirrel Girl was going to be played by Milana Vayntrub for a canceled New Warriors TV show, but we think this quirky character is ready to headline her own solo film.

Believe it or not, Squirrel Girl coming to the MCU is an idea nearly a decade old. Originally,  Milana Vayntrub was going to play this character in a New Warriors TV show on Freeform; Marvel began developing the show in 2016, and Freeform quickly picked the show up in 2017. A pilot was shot, but the show was canceled before anyone could even see it, leaving Vayntrub to carry on her involvement with the character in some unexpected ways.

For example, she voiced Squirrel Girl in a number of animated Marvel Rising specials that were aimed at children. Meanwhile, adult fans got a bigger kick out of Milana Vayntrub voicing the character in the hilarious podcast Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show. After listening to that podcast and re-reading our volumes of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics written by Ryan North and drawn by Erica Henderson, we’re convinced Disney needs to bring this unconventional character to the MCU.

One reason we think the MCU needs Squirrel Girl now more than ever is that, like Spider-Man, she’s a youthful character who doesn’t take the crazy superhero shenanigans around her too seriously. Marvel fans clearly love more humorous films (one of the reasons that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been one of the only successes of Phase 5), and since Tom Holland’s contract can only last so long, the franchise clearly needs more funny characters. Thanks to her amusing roles in movies like Werewolves Within and her history as a writer and voice actor for Robot Chicken, we know Milana Vayntrub can bring the comedy goods. 

Another similarity between Squirrel Girl and Spider-Man is that the characters are very modular: they can easily be added to ensemble films for some comic relief, but they are also entertaining enough to headline their own solo films. In The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comics (which Milana Vayntrub’s character was modeled after), we see the titular character trying to balance life as a college student with her responsibilities as a superhero. This led to some crazy misadventures, including a memorable encounter with Galactus where she “defeated” him by becoming his friend and convincing him to go eat a different planet.

That brings us to the most convincing reason the MCU needs Squirrel Girl: for Disney to save Marvel, audiences need more characters and films that don’t take this stuff too seriously. One of the reasons films like Thor: Ragnarok ended up being unexpected hits is that audiences loved seeing Marvel’s writers and actors stop doing dramatic, epic worldbuilding and start having big, goofy fun with their big, goofy world. “Big and goofy” is what Squirrel Girl does best, and having someone as naturally funny as Milana Vayntrub play the character means that Marvel could anchor these fun and lighthearted films with one of Hollywood’s biggest hidden talents.

At this point, we’re practically begging Kevin Feige to stop giving us boring multiverse content and bad sequels for worse characters (really looking at you here, Ant-Man) when he could deliver crowd-pleasing comedies built around fan-favorite characters. Squirrel Girl is one of the best and funniest characters in comics, and Milana Vayntrub is most certainly one of the best and funniest actors in the business. It’s not too late to bring her back and save the MCU, but Disney may very well need a few more box office bombs like The Marvels to learn from their mistakes and once again focus on quality characters and storytelling.