A great many things happen in Avengers: Infinity War. Many, many things. There’s a part where [REDACTED] meets up with [REDACTED] and then they [REDACTED]. There’s a part where [REDACTED] gets to [REDACTED]. There’s a part where [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] all join powers to [REDACTED]. There’s even a part where [REDACTED] has to [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] and you can barely even believe it when you see it. It’s a big, ambitious, wildly imaginative movie.
There’s one thing that doesn’t happen, though. Because even in a cinematic universe where a planet can be alive, or a god can fight aliens, or an odd-faced doctor can bounce back and forth between terrestrial planes, this particular thing is far too wild and bizarre to even attempt: a Mexican superhero doing anything at all.
There was a tiny piece of me that was holding out hope that Thanos was going to end up being a Mexican. He’d done just enough in his other movie cameos and in the trailer for Infinity War to make it seem like a very outside possibility. When he shows up in Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, and he’s talking to Ronan the Accuser, he says, “You alienated my favorite daughter, Gamora,” and he says it right in front of his other daughter, and I promise you that every Mexican person alive on earth right now knows who their mom’s or dad’s favorite kid is because Mexican moms and dads love nothing more than to tell you when you’re not it.
Or another example: There’s a line Thanos gives in one of the Infinity War trailers where he says, “In time, you will know what it’s like to lose—to feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail,” which is a sentiment that every Mexican who has justifiably tried to argue a correct point with one of his or her elders knows extremely well.
(There’s a tradition we have where, as a way to protect infants from the ire of bad spirits, we put a tiny bracelet on the baby and the bracelet works to prevent bad luck or injury or whatever. One time, I was trying to explain to one of my aunts that it wasn’t a real thing, and that perhaps—just perhaps—her baby would be best served by not being left crawling around the house unsupervised for extended stretches of time. It didn’t matter what I said or how I presented it, though. She said the bracelet, which was purchased from a flea market for $2, would protect her baby, and that if the baby got hurt, it just meant that the spirit was stronger than the bracelet and there was nothing to be done but to accept the fate.)
And I know there was the whole “OK, but Thanos clearly has purple skin” point that could be brought up as an easy way to see that Thanos was not a Mexican, but, I mean, I don’t know. I’ve never been to space. I don’t know the rules. Who’s to say that the reflection of light off, say, a nebula or something doesn’t turn a certain shade of brown skin a color closer to purple? I took a photograph of two of my sons near a neon sign in an airport this past weekend and they came out a very distinct pink color, just like that one woman in Guardians of the Galaxy who tried to grab the Infinity Stone and exploded. So, again, I say I was holding out hope that we were going to finally get a Mexican superhero (or villain) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I was waiting for there to be a scene where, in a hurry, Thanos is stomping around his house upset about how he can’t find his Infinity Stones, and it turns out his mom stored them in an old Country Crock butter container with some other old knick-knacks or buttons. Or a scene where he’s about to start in on a big fight and she hollers for him across the universe like, “Oye, Thanito! Ven aqui, mijo! Ayudame a mover esta mesa.”
It didn’t even have to be Thanos, honestly. I’d have settled for any of the superheroes in Infinity War to be Mexican. Pick one and just retrofit him or her, like how they replaced Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle after that first Iron Man, except but with race. Literally any of them, even Hawkeye, which is how you know how desperate I am to see one. (Hawkeye being Mexican is fun to think about because then all of a sudden the arrows he shoots do way different things. Like, he doesn’t have an arrow that explodes anymore, because that spot in his quill has been taken up by an arrow that, when it pierces you, makes you instantly understand why DACA is so vital.)
Captain America as a Mexican would’ve made for a great twist. (“Why don’t they call you Captain Mexico,” Tony Stark would’ve asked Michael Peña, the new Captain America. “That’s racist, bro,” he’d have said, in that fast-talking, charming, kind-of-dumb-guy way that only Michael Peña can say it.) A Mexican Hulk would’ve been stellar. (Mark Ruffalo could’ve stayed playing him. It’d have been fine. At this particular moment, I—speaking on behalf of the Mexican Consulate, acting in the interest of all of the subsets of Latin countries—am authorized to accept a non-Mexican actor playing a Mexican part in a movie, so long as the part in question is prominent. That’s where we are in this discussion, and how far back we are in the pack: I’m willing to tolerate being white-washed, so long as it lands us a name like “Rodriguez” or “Jimenez” somewhere on the Marquee Character List, like “Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Jimenez/Incredible Hulk.”) Scarlett Johansson plays the Russian-spy-turned-ally Black Widow. We could’ve taken her spot, given it to Gina Rodriguez, and then negated the points Johansson put up on the Whitewash Scoreboard when she took that role in Ghost in the Shell. (Gina Rodriguez would fucking crush it as Black Widow.) (Also: I’m aware that Gina Rodriguez is Puerto Rican and not Mexican, but it’s fine. The I’m-Not-Mexican-I’m-[OTHER] dispute is one of those family-type situations among Latinos where you can argue and fight amongst yourselves, but when the outsiders show up you present a united front.) (It’s why, if you ask me, as far as I’m concerned, for my money, and for all of everyone’s money, Benicio Del Toro has given the best performance ever in a Marvel movie, back when he got to say a handful of lines as the Collector in Guardians.)
Spider-Man? Thor? Vision? Iron Man? (I would lay down my life for Antonio Stark.) Doctor Strange? Loki? Winter Soldier? (He’d have to be Summer Soldier, though. For obvious reasons.) Peter Quill? Nebula? Scarlet Witch? (GIVE ME LA BRUJA SCARLETTA OR GIVE ME DEATH.) Black Panther is off limits, for sure. But Rocket? Pepper Potts? Anyone? Please. Any of them. All of them. One of them. Just one. For real, just one.
Alas: Thanos was not a Mexican, and is not a Mexican. Nobody was, or is.
They never are.