Marvel Mastermind Kevin Feige Talks Diversity In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel Mastermind Kevin Feige Talks Diversity In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

In recent years there has been a big diversity shift within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the promise of more to come, MCU producer and orchestrator Kevin Feige speaks on this and much more...

As we stand on the eve of what proves to be not only an entertaining and successful film in Black Panther, but also  the first modern superhero and blockbuster film to feature a predominantly all black cast. If Wonder Woman’s success proved anything it’s that audiences have waited long enough and want the spotlight on those people who are typically relegated to less significant roles.
This film doesn’t exist in a vacuum for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the franchise’s first female led film Captain Marvel currently in production and rumblings of an All-Female Avengers like project on the horizon as well. 
It’s taken a decade to get here, which isn’t unsurprising as the long-running narrative in Hollywood has been that films with minorities in major roles simply don’t make money, or are rejected as agenda pushing. If recent history has taught us anything, ti's that these “fears” are completely unfounded. 
Speaking to Vulture  Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stated his belief that these concerns don’t hold water and that films similar to Black Panther are ready to disprove them: 

“Myths of what plays overseas or what doesn’t, or what type of person someone wants to see in a lead role … that’s all noise until somebody comes and disproves it.”

Marvel Studios certainly doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to representation – there’s a reason that “attractive white guy named Chris” joke cntinues to stay relevant.  It’s not an issue that’s gone unnoticed, nor has it been entirely accidental on their part. Be it a mandate requiring the removal of a female villain in Iron Man 3the casting of Tilda Swinton to play an Asian role in Doctor Strange or the desire for a solo Black Widow film falling on deaf ears since the characters first appearance in Iron Man 2. Things are slowly changing, and Marvel is developing an increased emphasis on representation within their movies. Last year Tessa Thompson being cast as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok  proved to be a standout in the film and Feige anticipates a similar reception for DeWanda Wise in next year’s Captain Marvel.

“Taking a character like Valkyrie and giving it to Tessa is a no-brainer. Yes, it becomes a think piece, it inspires hot takes, but she’s awesome! We knew she was awesome, and now the world knows she’s awesome. And the same thing [will happen] with DeWanda. For us, it’s about getting these unbelievable actors to agree to do these characters, the combination of which we hope will become iconic around the world.”

Inevitably whenever someone mentions a focus on representation the general conversation can turn toxic, cruel and ignorant --  predominantly from those people who have never had to want for it . Who have never struggled to see themselves in their heroes, or don’t have to watch as characters with their gender, ethnicity, or sexuality are constantly kept from the spotlight. Some think the notion of inclusion is an agenda, a world gone mad and say it doesn’t really matter, so why bother and who cares? Kevin Feige is not one of those people.   

“It’s something that’s easy to take for granted, growing up in the United States as a white male, that my cinematic heroes look like me. I never thought they looked exactly like me, because I’m not a big athletic hero, but they do. It’s something that over the course of these ten years, having a certain amount of power over what type of movies are made and what type of actors we hire, I want everybody to have that feeling. We don’t take it for granted that people want to see themselves reflected in our heroes and our characters. That’s been the case in the comics for years, and, finally, that’s the case in the movies, and will only continue from here.”

What do you think? Are you looking forward to a more diverse and interesting rosta of Marvel films? Which heroes would you like to see get the spotlight? Leave your thoughts below.
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