President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige (our lord and savior) has helped make comic book movies some of the most profitable films of all time. Feige cut his teeth in the early days before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was established. He produced such films as Spider-Man 2 and Fantastic Four, learning what worked and what didn’t work. Today he continues to guide the MCU, reaching new heights with every film. Both Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange were both smash hits and helped solidify the MCU’s new standard of quality first reached with Captain America: Winter Solider.
Feige has managed to cast an absurd amount of A-list talent in the MCU including Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford, Scarlett Johannson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tilda Swinton. As incredible as the cast of the MCU is, there’s one major problem. They are all white.
The upcoming Marvel’s Black Panther solo feature will begin to offset that trend with a cast that includes Chadwick Boseman, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Angela Bassett. While speaking with Variety, Feige expressed the importance of moving forward with a more diverse cast and crew not just racially, but in terms of gender as well:
“When you look at “Black Panther” — when you look at “Captain Marvel,” which will be Brie Larson in the title role — it is a very important thing for us to have diversity both in front of the camera and behind the camera.”
On the subject of Captain Marvel which stars Brie Larson, Feige also added:
“Having a female director at the helm to tell the story of a woman who is also our most powerful hero by far is very important to us.”
While Hollywood and Marvel still have a long way to go, Marvel is already making strides as it recently announced every episode of season two of its female-led series, Jessica Jones will be directed by women.
This year also saw the release of season one of Luke Cage which featured a primarily African-American cast while at the same time remaining inclusive to every race. The series featured an Emmy-worthy performance from actress Alfre Woodard as well as Rosario Dawson and Simone Missick in major parts. But what was exceptional about the series set in Harlem was the way it took hip-hop culture and engrained it into the story, becoming an integral part of the narrative.